IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Causes of corruption: Evidence from China

  • Dong, Bin
  • Torgler, Benno
Registered author(s):

    This study explores the causes of corruption in China using provincial panel data. Using both fixed effects and instrumental variables approaches, we find that provinces with greater anti-corruption efforts, higher educational attainment, historic influence from Anglo-American church universities, greater openness, more access to media, higher relative wages of government employees and a greater representation of women in the legislature are markedly less corrupt; whereas social heterogeneity, regulation and resources abundance breed substantial corruption. We also find that fiscal decentralization depresses corruption significantly. Finally, we identify a positive relationship between corruption and economic development in China, which is driven primarily by the transition to a market economy.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal China Economic Review.

    Volume (Year): 26 (2013)
    Issue (Month): C ()
    Pages: 152-169

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:eee:chieco:v:26:y:2013:i:c:p:152-169
    DOI: 10.1016/j.chieco.2012.09.005
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as in new window
    1. Jakob Svensson, 2003. "Who Must Pay Bribes and How Much? Evidence from a Cross Section of Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(1), pages 207-230.
    2. Hongbin Cai & Hanming Fang & Lixin Colin Xu, 2011. "Eat, Drink, Firms, Government: An Investigation of Corruption from the Entertainment and Travel Costs of Chinese Firms," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(1), pages 55 - 78.
    3. Anand V. Swamy & Stephen Knack & Young Lee & Omar Azfar, 2000. "Gender and Corruption," Department of Economics Working Papers 2000-10, Department of Economics, Williams College.
    4. Mo, Pak Hung, 2001. "Corruption and Economic Growth," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 66-79, March.
    5. Hongyi Li & Lixin Colin Xu & Heng-fu Zou, 2000. "Corruption, Income Distribution, and Growth," CEMA Working Papers 472, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
    6. AlÌcia Adserý, 2003. "Are You Being Served? Political Accountability and Quality of Government," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(2), pages 445-490, October.
    7. La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert, 1999. "The Quality of Government," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 222-79, April.
    8. Tao Zhang & Heng-fu Zou, 1996. "Fiscal decentralization, public spending, and economic growth in China," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1608, The World Bank.
    9. Glaeser, Edward L. & Saks, Raven E., 2006. "Corruption in America," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(6-7), pages 1053-1072, August.
    10. Goel, Rajeev K & Nelson, Michael A, 1998. "Corruption and Government Size: A Disaggregated Analysis," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 97(1-2), pages 107-20, October.
    11. Brunetti, Aymo & Weder, Beatrice, 2003. "A free press is bad news for corruption," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(7-8), pages 1801-1824, August.
    12. Sendhil Mullainathan & Marianne Bertrand, 2001. "Do People Mean What They Say? Implications for Subjective Survey Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 67-72, May.
    13. Chowdhury, Shyamal K., 2004. "The effect of democracy and press freedom on corruption: an empirical test," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 85(1), pages 93-101, October.
    14. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521659123 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Paldam, M. & Svendsen, G.T., 2000. "Missing Social Capital and the Transition in Eastern Europe," Papers 00-5, Aarhus School of Business - Department of Economics.
    16. Carlos A Leite & Jens Weidmann, 1999. "Does Mother Nature Corrupt? Natural Resources, Corruption, and Economic Growth," IMF Working Papers 99/85, International Monetary Fund.
    17. Freille, Sebastian & Haque, M. Emranul & Kneller, Richard, 2007. "A contribution to the empirics of press freedom and corruption," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 838-862, December.
    18. Weingast, Barry R, 1995. "The Economic Role of Political Institutions: Market-Preserving Federalism and Economic Development," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(1), pages 1-31, April.
    19. Treisman, Daniel, 2000. "The causes of corruption: a cross-national study," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 399-457, June.
    20. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output Per Worker than Others?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(1), pages 83-116.
    21. Dollar, David & Fisman, Raymond & Gatti, Roberta, 2001. "Are women really the "fairer" sex? Corruption and women in government," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 46(4), pages 423-429, December.
    22. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," NBER Chapters, in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    23. Fisman, Raymond & Gatti, Roberta, 2002. "Decentralization and Corruption: Evidence from U.S. Federal Transfer Programs," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 113(1-2), pages 25-35, October.
    24. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521632935 is not listed on IDEAS
    25. Rafael Di Tella & Alberto Ades, 1999. "Rents, Competition, and Corruption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 982-993, September.
    26. Benno Torgler & Neven T. Valev, 2010. "Gender And Public Attitudes Toward Corruption And Tax Evasion," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 28(4), pages 554-568, October.
    27. Peter T. Leeson & Russell S. Sobel, 2006. "Weathering Corruption," Working Papers 06-07 Classification-, Department of Economics, West Virginia University.
    28. Jin, Hehui & Qian, Yingyi & Weingast, Barry R., 2005. "Regional decentralization and fiscal incentives: Federalism, Chinese style," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(9-10), pages 1719-1742, September.
    29. Meng, Xin & Gregory, Robert & Wang, Youjuan, 2005. "Poverty, inequality, and growth in urban China, 1986-2000," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 710-729, December.
    30. Gundlach, Erich & Paldam, Martin, 2008. "The transition of corruption: From poverty to honesty," Kiel Working Papers 1411, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    31. Rappaport, Jordan & Sachs, Jeffrey D, 2003. "The United States as a Coastal Nation," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 8(1), pages 5-46, March.
    32. Levin, Mark & Satarov, Georgy, 2000. "Corruption and institutions in Russia," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 113-132, March.
    33. Shuntian Yao, 2002. "Privilege and Corruption: The Problems of China's Socialist Market Economy," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(1), pages 279-299, 01.
    34. Susanto Basu & David Li, 2000. "A Theory of the Reform of Bureaucratic Institutions," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1271, Econometric Society.
    35. Jain, Arvind K, 2001. " Corruption: A Review," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(1), pages 71-121, February.
    36. Lorenzo Pellegrini & Reyer Gerlagh, 2008. "Causes of corruption: a survey of cross-country analyses and extended results," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 245-263, July.
    37. Bryan W Husted, 1999. "Wealth, Culture, and Corruption," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 30(2), pages 339-359, June.
    38. Gerring, John & Thacker, Strom C., 2005. "Do Neoliberal Policies Deter Political Corruption?," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 59(01), pages 233-254, January.
    39. Sachs, Jeffrey D. & Warner, Andrew M., 2001. "The curse of natural resources," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-6), pages 827-838, May.
    40. Fisman, Raymond & Gatti, Roberta, 2002. "Decentralization and corruption: evidence across countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(3), pages 325-345, March.
    41. Knack, Stephen, 2006. "Measuring corruption in Eastern Europe and Central Asia : a critique of the cross-country indicators," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3968, The World Bank.
    42. Van Rijckeghem, Caroline & Weder, Beatrice, 2001. "Bureaucratic corruption and the rate of temptation: do wages in the civil service affect corruption, and by how much?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 307-331, August.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:chieco:v:26:y:2013:i:c:p:152-169. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Shamier, Wendy)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.