Threshold Effects of Corruption: Theory and Evidence
Summary We examine the impact of corruption on the quality of public infrastructure. We propose a model in which private vendors supply governments with inputs necessary for the production of public goods. Asymmetric information between the two parties creates opportunities for vendors to earn profits. These profits can be re-distributed to government bureaucrats without impacting on the contractual form, as long as firms do not operate at a loss. Thus corruption adversely affects the provision of public goods only when it crosses a threshold. These results are examined in a sample of up to 125 countries. Consistent with our theory, we find strong evidence of a "corruption threshold."
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