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Danger: Local corruption is contagious!

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  • López-Valcárcel, Beatriz G.
  • Jiménez, Juan Luis
  • Perdiguero, Jordi

Abstract

Corruption is a major problem, and not only in developing countries. It impedes economic growth, weakens the rule of law and undermines the legitimacy of institutions. Although it has been studied at national level from different perspectives, there is a recent growing body of research on local corruption. As far as we know, these latter studies focused on corruption and its effects on votes. However, a further question arises as to whether there is a mimetic effect on neighbouring municipalities? We employ data from Spain, and the boom in local corruption in the 2000s, to respond to this question. Specifically we have constructed a panel database (2001–2010) on local characteristics, economic factors and corruption at local level in order to achieve this. Our spatial econometrics methodology supports the hypothesis that corruption is not local-specific, and leads to two opposing outcomes: on the one hand, local corruption is contagious and the probability of being ‘infected’ increases by 3.1% for each corrupt neighbouring municipality; on the other hand the likelihood of a municipality being taken to court increases by 6.7% for each neighbouring municipality accused. Although the former is alarming, the latter provides hope in the fight against local corruption.

Suggested Citation

  • López-Valcárcel, Beatriz G. & Jiménez, Juan Luis & Perdiguero, Jordi, 2017. "Danger: Local corruption is contagious!," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 39(5), pages 790-808.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jpolmo:v:39:y:2017:i:5:p:790-808
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jpolmod.2017.08.002
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    2. Resce, Giuliano, 2022. "The impact of political and non-political officials on the financial management of local governments," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 44(5), pages 943-962.
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    4. Sajad Rahimian, 2021. "Corruption Determinants, Geography, and Model Uncertainty," Papers 2105.12878, arXiv.org.
    5. Meierrieks, Daniel & Auer, Daniel, 2022. "Bribes and Bombs: The Effect of Corruption on Terrorism," VfS Annual Conference 2022 (Basel): Big Data in Economics 264084, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    6. Kyriakos C. Neanidis & Christos S. Savva, 2018. "Regional Spillovers in Financial Dollarization," Centre for Growth and Business Cycle Research Discussion Paper Series 238, Economics, The University of Manchester.
    7. Borsky, Stefan & Kalkschmied, Katja, 2019. "Corruption in space: A closer look at the world's subnations," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 400-422.
    8. Rienks, Harm, 2023. "Corruption, scandals and incompetence: Do voters care?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 79(C).
    9. Goel, Rajeev K. & Saunoris, James W., 2022. "Corrupt thy neighbor? New evidence of corruption contagion from bordering nations," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 635-652.
    10. Preksha Jain & Rupayan Pal, 2023. "Corruption-proof minimum regulation for `Zero emission': Status incentives - Bane or boon?," Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai Working Papers 2023-009, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai, India.
    11. Masoud Khodapanah & Zahra Dehghan Shabani & Mohammad Hadi Akbarzadeh & Mahboubeh Shojaeian, 2022. "Spatial spillover effects of corruption in Asian countries: Spatial econometric approach," Regional Science Policy & Practice, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(4), pages 699-717, August.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Local corruption; Spatial econometrics; Contagion effects;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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