Why a clean politician supports dirty politics: A game-theoretical explanation for the persistence of political corruption
Using a theoretical model of repeated political competition among two career politicians, I study the incentives of both the corrupt and clean politicians not to adopt a fully effective reform targeting political corruption. In the setup I study, each politician can credibly adopt the reform as part of his policy platform in the elections. Yet, when the level of political corruption is high, neither politician does so in a Nash Equilibrium. Intuitively, political corruption changes the zero-sum nature of political competition: the reform eliminates the illegal rents of the corrupt candidate and the competitive advantage of the clean candidate.
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