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Cultures of Corruption: Evidence From Diplomatic Parking Tickets

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  • Raymond Fisman
  • Edward Miguel

Abstract

Corruption is believed to be a major factor impeding economic development, but the importance of legal enforcement versus cultural norms in controlling corruption is poorly understood. To disentangle these two factors, we exploit a natural experiment, the stationing of thousands of diplomats from around the world in New York City. Diplomatic immunity means there was essentially zero legal enforcement of diplomatic parking violations, allowing us to examine the role of cultural norms alone. This generates a revealed preference measure of government officials' corruption based on real-world behavior taking place in the same setting. We find strong persistence in corruption norms: diplomats from high corruption countries (based on existing survey-based indices) have significantly more parking violations, and these differences persist over time. In a second main result, officials from countries that survey evidence indicates have less favorable popular views of the United States commit significantly more parking violations, providing non-laboratory evidence on sentiment in economic decision-making. Taken together, factors other than legal enforcement appear to be important determinants of corruption.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12312.

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Date of creation: Jun 2006
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Publication status: published as Fisman, Raymond and Edward Miguel. “Corruption, Norms and Legal Enforcement: Evidence from Diplomatic Parking Tickets." Journal of Political Economy 115, 6 (2007): 1020-1048.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12312

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  1. de Sousa, José & Mayer, Thierry & Zignago, Soledad, 2012. "Market access in global and regional trade," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(6), pages 1037-1052.
  2. Gary S. Becker, 1968. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 76, pages 169.
  3. Tirole, J., 1993. "A Theory of Collective Reputations with Applications to the Persistence of Corruption and to Firm Quality," Working papers 93-13, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  4. Paolo Mauro, 2002. "The Persistence of Corruption and Slow Economic Growth," IMF Working Papers 02/213, International Monetary Fund.
  5. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/10187 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Schiavo-Campo, Salvatore & de Tommaso, Giulio & Mukherjee, Amitabha, 1997. "An international statistical survey of government employment and wages," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1806, The World Bank.
  7. Di Tella, Rafael & Schargrodsky, Ernesto, 2003. "The Role of Wages and Auditing during a Crackdown on Corruption in the City of Buenos Aires," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 46(1), pages 269-92, April.
  8. Ilyana Kuziemko & Eric Werker, 2006. "How Much Is a Seat on the Security Council Worth? Foreign Aid and Bribery at the United Nations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(5), pages 905-930, October.
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  1. Is Culture Useless as an Explanation for Behavior?
    by Marc F. Bellemare in Marc F. Bellemare on 2013-04-29 09:00:27
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Cited by:
  1. Alberto Chong & Mark Gradstein, 2006. "Is the World Flat? Or Do Countries Still Matter?," Research Department Publications 4488, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  2. David Dorn & Justina Fischer & Gebhard Kirchgässner & Alfonso Sousa-Poza, 2008. "Direct democracy and life satisfaction revisited: new evidence for Switzerland," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 227-255, June.
  3. Oriana Bandiera & Andrea Prat & Tommaso Valletti, 2009. "Active and Passive Waste in Government Spending: Evidence from a Policy Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1278-1308, September.
  4. Hoff, Karla & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 2008. "Exiting a lawless state," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4520, The World Bank.
  5. Pellegrini, L. & Gerlagh, R., 2008. "Causes of corruption: A survey of cross-country analyses and extended results," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-3763893, Tilburg University.
  6. Meir Statman, 2009. "The Cultures of Insider Trading," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 89(1), pages 51-58, May.
  7. Pande, Rohini, 2007. "Understanding Political Corruption in Low Income Countries," Working Paper Series rwp07-020, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  8. Daniel Levy, 2006. "Price Adjustment Under the Table: Evidence on Efficiency-enhancing Corruption," Emory Economics 0605, Department of Economics, Emory University (Atlanta).
  9. Guido Tabellini, 2007. "The Scope of Cooperation: Norms and Incentives," Levine's Working Paper Archive 321307000000000866, David K. Levine.
  10. Dhammika Dharmapala & James R. Hines Jr., 2006. "Which Countries Become Tax Havens?," NBER Working Papers 12802, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Hechter, Michael, 2008. "The rise and fall of normative control," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 663-676, August.
  12. Raymond Fisman & Edward Miguel, 2007. "Corruption, Norms, and Legal Enforcement: Evidence from Diplomatic Parking Tickets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115(6), pages 1020-1048, December.
  13. Jensen, Nathan M. & Li, Quan & Rahman, Aminur, 2007. "Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard are sweeter : understanding corruption using cross-national firm-level surveys," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4413, The World Bank.
  14. Shepherd, Ben, 2009. "Speed Money: Time, Corruption, and Trade," MPRA Paper 17337, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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