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Speed Money: Time, Corruption, and Trade

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  • Shepherd, Ben

Abstract

This paper shows that longer trade times are associated with higher levels of trade-related corruption, consistent with a theoretical framework in which “fast” producers earn higher profits than “slow” ones, but may have to pay “speed money” to possibly corrupt customs officials. This finding is robust to the use of corruption measures based on perceptions and reported behavior, the inclusion of a wide range of control variables from the previous literature, and estimation by a variety of methods including instrumental variables. Moreover, results from a gravity model show that the combination of slow border procedures and rampant corruption acts as a significant drag on international trade, in line with the model's predictions: the elasticity of bilateral trade with respect to trade time is around 5% stronger in a country with rampant corruption compared with a corruption free country. Together, these results suggest that improved trade facilitation can be an effective and feasible policy for reducing corruption over the short-term in weak institutional environments.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 17337.

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Date of creation: 16 Sep 2009
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:17337

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Keywords: International trade; Trade policy; Economic Development; Political Economy; Corruption.;

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References

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  1. Hummels, David, 2001. "Time as a Trade Barrier," GTAP Working Papers 1152, Center for Global Trade Analysis, Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University.
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  13. Mayer, Thierry & Zignago, Soledad, 2006. "Notes on CEPII’s distances measures," MPRA Paper 26469, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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  15. Simeon Djankov & Caroline Freund & Cong S. Pham, 2010. "Trading on Time," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(1), pages 166-173, February.
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  17. Sequeira, Sandra & Djankov, Simeon, 2010. "An Empirical Study of Corruption in Ports," MPRA Paper 21791, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  18. Jakob Svensson, 2005. "Eight Questions about Corruption," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(3), pages 19-42, Summer.
  19. Rubinstein, Yona & Helpman, Elhanan & Melitz, Marc, 2008. "Estimating Trade Flows: Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," Scholarly Articles 3228230, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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  23. 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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Cited by:
  1. Shepherd, Ben, 2011. "Logistics costs and competitiveness: measurement and trade policy applications," MPRA Paper 38254, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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