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Inflation, Inflation Variability, and Corruption


  • Miguel Braun
  • Rafael Di tella


We present a model where agents can inflate the cost of goods needed to start an investment project and inflation variability increases monitoring costs. We show that inflation variability can lead to higher corruption and lower investment. We document a positive relationship between corruption and inflation variability in a sample of 75 countries. The effect is robust to the inclusion of country fixed effects, other controls, and 2SLS estimation. The results are economically significant: a one standard deviation increase in inflation variance from the median increases corruption by 12 percent of a standard deviation and reduces growth by 0.33 percentage points. Our paper highlights a new channel through which inflation reduces investment and growth, thus bridging the perception gap over the costs of inflation between economists and the public. We also find evidence that political competition reduces corruption and that corruption is pro-cyclical. Copyright Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2004.

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  • Miguel Braun & Rafael Di tella, 2004. "Inflation, Inflation Variability, and Corruption," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(1), pages 77-100, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ecopol:v:16:y:2004:i:1:p:77-100

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1994. "Protection for Sale," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 833-850, September.
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    5. Lopez, Rigoberto A & Pagoulatos, Emilio, 1996. "Trade Protection and the Role of Campaign Contributions in U.S. Food and Tobacco Industries," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 34(2), pages 237-248, April.
    6. Honma, Masayoshi & Hayami, Yujiro, 1986. "Structure of agricultural protection in industrial countries," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1-2), pages 115-129, February.
    7. Gardner, Bruce L, 1992. "Changing Economic Perspectives on the Farm Problem," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(1), pages 62-101, March.
    8. Gary S. Becker, 1983. "A Theory of Competition Among Pressure Groups for Political Influence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 98(3), pages 371-400.
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