IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/jcecon/v42y2014i1p76-91.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Is corruption in China “out of control”? A comparison with the US in historical perspective

Author

Listed:
  • Ramirez, Carlos D.

Abstract

This paper compares corruption in China over the past 15years with corruption in the US between 1870 and 1930, periods that are roughly comparable in terms of real income per capita. Corruption indicators for both countries and both periods are constructed by tracking corruption news in prominent US newspapers. Several robustness checks confirm the reliability of the constructed corruption indices for both countries. The comparison indicates that corruption in the US in the early 1870s, when its real income per capita was about $2800 (in 2005 dollars), was 7–9 times higher than China’s corruption level in 1996, the corresponding year in terms of income per capita. By the time the US reached $7500 in 1928, approximately equivalent to China’s real income per capita in 2009, corruption was similar in both countries. The findings imply that, while corruption in China is an issue that merits attention, it is not at alarmingly high levels, compared to the US historical experience. In addition, the paper articulates a theoretical framework within which the relationship between corruption and economic development can be understood. The model is used to explain the “life-cycle” of corruption in the development process–rising at the early stages of development, and declining after modernization has taken place. Hence, as China continues its development process, corruption will likely decline.

Suggested Citation

  • Ramirez, Carlos D., 2014. "Is corruption in China “out of control”? A comparison with the US in historical perspective," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 76-91.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jcecon:v:42:y:2014:i:1:p:76-91
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jce.2013.07.003
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0147596713001054
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Keith Blackburn & Niloy Bose & M. Emranul Haque, 2010. "Endogenous corruption in economic development," Journal of Economic Studies, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 37(1), pages 4-25, January.
    2. Qian, Yingyi & Roland, Gerard, 1998. "Federalism and the Soft Budget Constraint," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(5), pages 1143-1162, December.
    3. Jie Bai & Seema Jayachandran, 2013. "Does Economic Growth Reduce Corruption? Theory and Evidence from Vietnam," Working Papers id:5507, eSocialSciences.
    4. Barreto, Raul A., 2000. "Endogenous corruption in a neoclassical growth model," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 35-60, January.
    5. John Mcmillan & Pablo Zoido, 2004. "How to Subvert Democracy: Montesinos in Peru," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(4), pages 69-92, Fall.
    6. Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1993. "Corruption," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(3), pages 599-617.
    7. Pranab Bardhan, 1997. "Corruption and Development: A Review of Issues," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(3), pages 1320-1346, September.
    8. Gérard Roland, 2004. "Transition and Economics: Politics, Markets, and Firms," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 026268148x, January.
    9. Gary S. Becker & George J. Stigler, 1974. "Law Enforcement, Malfeasance, and Compensation of Enforcers," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(1), pages 1-18, January.
    10. Shang-Jin Wei, 2000. "How Taxing is Corruption on International Investors?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(1), pages 1-11, February.
    11. Nikolay Nenovsky & S. Statev, 2006. "Introduction," Post-Print halshs-00260898, HAL.
    12. Carlos D. Ramirez & Rong Rong, 2012. "China Bashing: Does Trade Drive the “Bad” News about China in the USA?," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(2), pages 350-363, May.
    13. Edward L. Glaeser & Claudia Goldin, 2006. "Corruption and Reform: Introduction," NBER Chapters,in: Corruption and Reform: Lessons from America's Economic History, pages 2-22 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Hongyi Li & Lixin Colin Xu & Heng-fu Zou, 2000. "Corruption, Income Distribution, and Growth," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 12(2), pages 155-182, July.
    15. Javorcik, Beata S. & Wei, Shang-Jin, 2009. "Corruption and cross-border investment in emerging markets: Firm-level evidence," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 605-624, June.
    16. Isaac Ehrlich & Francis T. Lui, 1999. "Bureaucratic Corruption and Endogenous Economic Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages 270-293, December.
    17. Paolo Mauro, 1995. "Corruption and Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(3), pages 681-712.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Xu, Xixiong & Li, Yaoqin & Liu, Xing & Gan, Weiyu, 2017. "Does religion matter to corruption? Evidence from China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 34-49.
    2. Qu, Guangjun & Sylwester, Kevin & Wang, Feng, 2016. "Anticorruption and Growth: Evidence from China," MPRA Paper 72190, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Wen, Yi, 2015. "The Making of an Economic Superpower―Unlocking China’s Secret of Rapid Industrialization," Working Papers 2015-6, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    4. Fungáčová, Zuzana & Määttä, Ilari & Weill, Laurent, 2016. "What shapes social attitudes toward corruption in China? Micro-level evidence," BOFIT Discussion Papers 18/2016, Bank of Finland, Institute for Economies in Transition.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Corruption; Newspapers; China; US history;

    JEL classification:

    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
    • O57 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Comparative Studies of Countries
    • N42 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jcecon:v:42:y:2014:i:1:p:76-91. 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: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622864 .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.