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Corruption as a Barrier to Entry: Theory and Evidence

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Author Info

  • Campos, Nauro F

    ()
    (Brunel University)

  • Estrin, Saul

    ()
    (London School of Economics)

  • Proto, Eugenio

    ()
    (University of Warwick)

Abstract

Conventional wisdom depicts corruption as a tax on incumbent firms. This paper challenges this view in two ways. First, by arguing that corruption matters not so much because of the value of the bribe ("tax"), but because of another less studied feature of corruption, namely bribe unavoidability. Second, we argue that the social costs of corruption arise not because corruption hurts incumbent firms, but mostly because it acts as a powerful barrier to the entry of new firms. Corruption sands and greases in tandem: it helps incumbent firms (on balance) and it hurts potential entrants. We put forward a model in which a bureaucrat chooses entry barriers to optimize bribe revenues. When the capacity to collect bribes is high, it is optimal to allow high levels of oligopoly power to incumbents. Conversely, the more avoidable are the bribes, the more firms are allowed into the market. These ideas are tested using a unique, representative sample of Brazilian manufacturing firms. Consistently with our theoretical model, we show that corruption (a) is ranked as the most important barrier to entry (above finance, taxes and regulation) and (b) while bribes' unavoidability is positively related to firm performance, the size of the bribe is not.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 5243.

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Length: 25 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5243

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Keywords: corruption; firm performance; barriers to entry;

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References

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  1. Acemoglu, D. & Verdier, T., 1996. "Property Rights, Corruption and the Allocation of Talent: A General Equilibrium Approach," DELTA Working Papers 96-12, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
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  13. Bliss, Christopher & Di Tella, Rafael, 1997. "Does Competition Kill Corruption?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(5), pages 1001-23, October.
  14. Razafindrakoto, Mireille & Roubaud, François, 2010. "Are International Databases on Corruption Reliable? A Comparison of Expert Opinion Surveys and Household Surveys in Sub-Saharan Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(8), pages 1057-1069, August.
  15. Simon Johnson & John McMillan & Christopher Woodruff, 2002. "Property Rights and Finance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1335-1356, December.
  16. Besley, Timothy & McLaren, John, 1993. "Taxes and Bribery: The Role of Wage Incentives," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 103(416), pages 119-41, January.
  17. Lui, Francis T, 1985. "An Equilibrium Queuing Model of Bribery," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(4), pages 760-81, August.
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  19. Razafindrakoto, Mireille & Roubaud, François, 2010. "Are international databases on corruption reliable? A comparison of expert opinion surveys and household surveys in sub-Saharan Africa," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/4352, Paris Dauphine University.
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Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Govâ??t Regulation More Harmful Than Corruption For Brazilian Firm Growth
    by Ariel Goldring in Free Market Mojo on 2010-11-19 14:00:28
Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
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Cited by:
  1. Alexeev, Michael & Song, Yunah, 2013. "Corruption and product market competition: An empirical investigation," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 154-166.
  2. Margolis, David N., 2014. "By Choice and by Necessity: Entrepreneurship and Self-Employment in the Developing World," IZA Discussion Papers 8273, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Johann Graf Lambsdorff, 2013. "Corrupt intermediaries in international business transactions: between make, buy and reform," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 35(3), pages 349-366, June.
  4. Barassi, Marco R. & Zhou, Ying, 2012. "The effect of corruption on FDI: A parametric and non-parametric analysis," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 302-312.

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