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The economics of repeated extortion

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  • Choi, Jay Pil
  • Thum, Marcel

Abstract

This paper provides a simple model of repeated extortion. In particular, we ask whether corrupt government officials' ex post opportunism to demand more once entrepreneurs have made sunk investments entails further distortion in resource allocations. We show that the inability of government officials to commit to future demands does not distort entry decisions any further if technology is not a choice variable for the entrepreneurs. The government official can properly discount the initial demand in order to induce the appropriate amount of entry. If, however, the choice of technology is left to the entrepreneurs, the dynamic path of demand schedules will induce entrepreneurs to pursue a fly-by-night strategy by adopting a technology with an inefficiently low sunk cost component. In this case, we show that the unique equilibrium is characterized by a mixed strategy of the government official in future demand. Our model thus explains why arbitrariness is such a central feature of extortion. We also investigate implications of the stability of the corrupt regime for dynamic extortion and discuss how our framework can be applied to other investment contexts involving the risk of expropriation. --

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Dresden University of Technology, Faculty of Business and Economics, Department of Economics in its series Dresden Discussion Paper Series in Economics with number 13/03.

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Date of creation: 2003
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:tuddps:1303

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Keywords: corruption; repeated extortion; ex post opportunism; dynamic consistency; dynamic cream skimming;

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References

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  1. 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.
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  3. Safavian, Mehnaz S. & Graham, Douglas H. & Gonzalez-Vega, Claudio, 2001. "Corruption and Microenterprises in Russia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(7), pages 1215-1224, July.
  4. Choi, Jay Pil & Thum, Marcel, 2003. "The dynamics of corruption with the ratchet effect," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(3-4), pages 427-443, March.
  5. Shang-Jin Wei, 1997. "Why is Corruption So Much More Taxing Than Tax? Arbitrariness Kills," NBER Working Papers 6255, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  15. Joseph Farrell and Nancy T. Gallini., 1987. "Second-Sourcing as a Commitment: Monopoly Incentives to Attract Competition," Economics Working Papers 8760, University of California at Berkeley.
  16. Rose-Ackerman, Susan, 1975. "The economics of corruption," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 187-203, February.
  17. Telser, L G, 1979. "A Theory of Monopoly of Complementary Goods," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 52(2), pages 211-30, April.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Jennifer Hunt & Sonia Laszlo, 2005. "Bribery: Who Pays, Who Refuses, What Are The Payoffs?," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series wp792, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  2. John Bennett & Saul Estrin, 2006. "Corruption and Bureaucratic Structure in a Developing Economy," Economics and Finance Discussion Papers 06-07, Economics and Finance Section, School of Social Sciences, Brunel University.
  3. Mishra, Ajit & Samuel, Andrew, 2013. "Corruption and Hold-Up : The Role of Intermediaries," Department of Economics Working Papers 37907, University of Bath, Department of Economics.
  4. Choi, Jay Pil & Thum, Marcel, 2008. "The economics of politically-connected firms," Dresden Discussion Paper Series in Economics 07/08, Dresden University of Technology, Faculty of Business and Economics, Department of Economics.
  5. Tomas Otahal, 2013. "Mises, Hayek and Corruption," MENDELU Working Papers in Business and Economics 2013-34, Mendel University in Brno, Faculty of Business and Economics.
  6. Ahlin, Christian & Bose, Pinaki, 2007. "Bribery, inefficiency, and bureaucratic delay," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 465-486, September.

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