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Why Are Some Public Officials more Corrupt Than Others?

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  • Jennifer Hunt

Abstract

Using detailed Peruvian data measuring bribery, I assess which types of public official are most corrupt and why. I distinguish between the bribery rate and the size of bribes received, and seek to explain the variation in each across public institutions. The characteristics of officials%u2019 clients explain most of the variation for bribery rates, but none for bribe amounts. A measure of the speed of honest service at the institution explains much of the remaining variation for both bribery rates and amounts. The results indicate that the bribery rate is higher at institutions with bribe-prone clients, and that bribery rates and bribe amounts are higher where clients are frustrated at slow service. Faster and better service would reduce corruption. Overall, the judiciary and the police are by far the most corrupt institutions.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11595.

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Date of creation: Sep 2005
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Publication status: published as Rose-Ackerman, Susan (ed.) International Handbook on the Economics of Corruption, Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar, 2006.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11595

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  1. Anand Swamy & Stephen Knack & Young Lee & Omar Azfar, 2000. "Gender and Corruption," Center for Development Economics 158, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  2. Ades, Alberto & Di Tella, Rafael, 1997. "National Champions and Corruption: Some Unpleasant Interventionist Arithmetic," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(443), pages 1023-42, July.
  3. Borjas, George J. & Sueyoshi, Glenn T., 1994. "A two-stage estimator for probit models with structural group effects," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1-2), pages 165-182.
  4. Hunt, Jennifer, 2004. "Trust and Bribery: The Role of the Quid Pro Quo and the Link with Crime," IZA Discussion Papers 1179, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Fisman, Raymond & Gatti, Roberta, 2000. "Decentralization and corruption - evidence across countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2290, The World Bank.
  6. Hunt, Jennifer & Laszlo, Sonia, 2005. "Bribery: Who Pays, Who Refuses, What are the Payoffs?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5251, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Treisman, Daniel, 2000. "The causes of corruption: a cross-national study," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 399-457, June.
  8. 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.
  9. McMillan, John & Zoido, Paolo, 2004. "How to Subvert Democracy: Montesinos in Peru," CEPR Discussion Papers 4361, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Svensson, Jakob, 2000. "Who must pay bribes and how much? Evidence from a cross-section of firms," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2486, The World Bank.
  11. Naci Mocan, 2008. "What Determines Corruption? International Evidence From Microdata," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 46(4), pages 493-510, October.
  12. Francisco Alvarez-Cuadrado, . "A Quantitative Exploration of the Golden Age of European Growth: Structural Change, Public Investment, the Marshall Plan and Intra-European Trade," Working Papers UWEC-2004-15, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
  13. Pranab Bardhan, 1997. "Corruption and Development: A Review of Issues," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(3), pages 1320-1346, September.
  14. John P. Haisken-DeNew & Christoph M. Schmidt, . "Inter-Industry and Inter-Region Differentials: Mechanics and Interpretation," Working Papers 9504, SELAPO Center for Human Resources.
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Cited by:
  1. Francisco Alvarez-Cuadrado, 2006. "A Quantitative Exploration Of The Golden Age Of European Growth: Structural Change, Public Investment, The Marshall Plan And Intra-European Trade," Departmental Working Papers 2005-01, McGill University, Department of Economics.
  2. Jennifer Hunt & Sonia Laszlo, 2006. "Bribery: Who Pays, Who Refuses, What Are The Payoffs?," Departmental Working Papers 2006-06, McGill University, Department of Economics.
  3. Kaufmann, Daniel & Montoriol-Garriga, Judit & Recanatini, Francesca, 2008. "How does bribery affect public service delivery ? micro-evidence from service users and public officials in Peru," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4492, The World Bank.
  4. Gorodnichenko, Yuriy & Sabirianova Peter, Klara, 2007. "Public sector pay and corruption: Measuring bribery from micro data," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(5-6), pages 963-991, June.

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