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The marginal rate of corruption in public programs: Evidence from India

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  • Niehaus, Paul
  • Sukhtankar, Sandip

Abstract

Optimal fiscal policy depends on the marginal benefits of public spending. In developing countries corrupt officials often embezzle funds, so optimal policy should reflect marginal corruption. We analyze marginal corruption in the context of a statutory wage increase in India's employment guarantee scheme. Strikingly, workers received none of the increase even though initially they were on average overpaid. The data are inconsistent with theories of “voice” in which the threat of complaints limits corruption, but consistent with theories of “exit” in which outside options in the private sector limit how much rent officials can extract.

Suggested Citation

  • Niehaus, Paul & Sukhtankar, Sandip, 2013. "The marginal rate of corruption in public programs: Evidence from India," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 52-64.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:104:y:2013:i:c:p:52-64
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2013.05.001
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Corruption; Leakage; Voice; Exit; Public programs;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis
    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General

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