IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Why is Corruption Less Harmful to Income Inequality in Latin America?

  • Dobson, Stephen
  • Ramlogan-Dobson, Carlyn

Conventional wisdom says corruption is bad for income inequality. But recent research on Latin America finds a trade-off between corruption and inequality and suggests this is due to the large informal sector in the region. Using data on a large sample of countries we find that the informal sector impacts the link between corruption and inequality. In particular, the marginal impact of corruption becomes negative once the informal sector becomes large. This is true in Latin America and more generally. Corruption reducing policies should be accompanied by measures that help displaced informal sector workers.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal World Development.

Volume (Year): 40 (2012)
Issue (Month): 8 ()
Pages: 1534-1545

in new window

Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:40:y:2012:i:8:p:1534-1545
Contact details of provider: Web page:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Keith Blackburn & Gonzalo F. Forgues-Puccio, 2007. "Why is Corruption Less Harmful in Some Countries Than in Others?," Centre for Growth and Business Cycle Research Discussion Paper Series 88, Economics, The Univeristy of Manchester.
  2. K Blackburn & G F Forgues-Puccio, 2004. "Distribution and Development in a Model of Misgovernance," Centre for Growth and Business Cycle Research Discussion Paper Series 42, Economics, The Univeristy of Manchester.
  3. Oechslin, Manuel & Reto Foellmi, 2003. "Who Gains from Non-Collusive Corruption?," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2003 159, Royal Economic Society.
  4. Choi, Jay Pil & Thum, Marcel, 2003. "Corruption and the shadow economy," Dresden Discussion Paper Series in Economics 02/03, Dresden University of Technology, Faculty of Business and Economics, Department of Economics.
  5. Alberto Chong & Mark Gradstein, 2004. "Inequality and Institutions," Research Department Publications 4361, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  6. Maloney, William, 2003. "Informality revisited," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2965, The World Bank.
  7. Alberto Ades & Rafael Di Tella, 1997. "The New Economics of Corruption: a Survey and Some New Results," Political Studies, Political Studies Association, vol. 45(3), pages 496-515.
  8. Chong, Alberto & Gradstein, Mark, 2006. "Inequality and Informality," CEPR Discussion Papers 5545, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Albert de Vaal & Wouter Ebben, 2011. "Institutions and the Relation between Corruption and Economic Growth," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(1), pages 108-123, 02.
  10. Hindriks, Jean & Keen, Michael & Muthoo, Abhinay, 1999. "Corruption, extortion and evasion," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(3), pages 395-430, December.
  11. Axel Dreher & Christos Kotsogiannis & Steve McCorriston, 2005. "How Do Institutions Affect Corruption and the Shadow Economy," Discussion Papers 0505, Exeter University, Department of Economics.
  12. Çule, Monika & Fulton, Murray, 2009. "Business culture and tax evasion: Why corruption and the unofficial economy can persist," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 72(3), pages 811-822, December.
  13. Axel Dreher & Friedrich Schneider, 2006. "Corruption and the Shadow Economy: An Empirical Analysis," KOF Working papers 06-123, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
  14. Nicholas Apergis & Oguzhan Dincer & James Payne, 2010. "The relationship between corruption and income inequality in U.S. states: evidence from a panel cointegration and error correction model," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 145(1), pages 125-135, October.
  15. Sanjeev Gupta & Hamid Davoodi & Rosa Alonso-Terme, 2002. "Does corruption affect income inequality and poverty?," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 3(1), pages 23-45, 03.
  16. Stanley L. Engerman & Kenneth L. Sokoloff, 2005. "Colonialism, Inequality, and Long-Run Paths of Development," NBER Working Papers 11057, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Dabla-Norris, Era & Gradstein, Mark & Inchauste, Gabriela, 2008. "What causes firms to hide output? The determinants of informality," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(1-2), pages 1-27, February.
  18. Hongyi Li & Lixin Colin Xu & Heng-fu Zou, 2000. "Corruption, Income Distribution, and Growth," CEMA Working Papers 472, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  19. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "Reversal of Fortune: Geography and Institutions in the Making of the Modern World Income Distribution," NBER Working Papers 8460, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Fuller, Wayne A, 1977. "Some Properties of a Modification of the Limited Information Estimator," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(4), pages 939-53, May.
  21. James Albrecht & Lucas Navarro & Susan Vroman, 2008. "The Effects of Labour Market Policies in an Economy with an Informal Sector," ILADES-Georgetown University Working Papers inv208, Ilades-Georgetown University, Universidad Alberto Hurtado/School of Economics and Bussines.
  22. Stanley L Engerman & Kenneth L. Sokoloff, 2002. "Factor Endowments, Inequality, and Paths of Development Among New World Economics," NBER Working Papers 9259, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Ulyssea, Gabriel, 2010. "Regulation of entry, labor market institutions and the informal sector," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1), pages 87-99, January.
  24. Macrae, John, 1982. "Underdevelopment and the economics of corruption: A game theory approach," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 10(8), pages 677-687, August.
  25. Pushan Dutt & Daniel Traca, 2010. "Corruption and Bilateral Trade Flows: Extortion or Evasion?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(4), pages 843-860, November.
  26. Mandal, Biswajit & Marjit, Sugata, 2010. "Corruption and wage inequality?," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 166-172, January.
  27. Pierre-Daniel G. Sarte, 1999. "Informality and rent-seeking bureaucracies in a model of long-run growth," Working Paper 99-07, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  28. Loayza, Norman V. & Oviedo, Ana Maria & Serven, Luis, 2005. "The impact of regulation on growth and informality - cross-country evidence," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3623, The World Bank.
  29. Kwabena Gyimah-Brempong, 2002. "Corruption, economic growth, and income inequality in Africa," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 3(3), pages 183-209, November.
  30. Douglas A. Houston, 2007. "Can Corruption Ever Improve an Economy?," Cato Journal, Cato Journal, Cato Institute, vol. 27(3), pages 325-342, Fall.
  31. Carlyn Dobson & Antonio Rodríguez, 2010. "Is Corruption Really Bad for Inequality? Evidence from Latin America," Development Research Working Paper Series 02/2010, Institute for Advanced Development Studies.
  32. Guillermo E. Perry & William F. Maloney & Omar S. Arias & Pablo Fajnzylber & Andrew D. Mason & Jaime Saavedra-Chanduvi, 2007. "Informality : Exit and Exclusion," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6730.
  33. Aidt, Toke & Dutta, Jayasri & Sena, Vania, 2008. "Governance regimes, corruption and growth: Theory and evidence," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 195-220, June.
  34. Stephen Dobson & Carlyn Ramlogan, 2009. "Is there a trade-off between income inequality and corruption? Evidence from Latin America," Working Papers 2009/4, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham Business School, Economics Division.
  35. Kwabena Gyimah-Brempong & Samaria de Gyimah-Brempong, 2006. "Corruption, Growth, and Income Distribution: Are there Regional Differences?," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 7(3), pages 245-269, August.
  36. Friedman, Eric & Johnson, Simon & Kaufmann, Daniel & Zoido-Lobaton, Pablo, 2000. "Dodging the grabbing hand: the determinants of unofficial activity in 69 countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 459-493, June.
  37. Oguzhan C. Dincer & Burak Gunalp, 2008. "Corruption, Income Inequality, and Poverty in the United States," Working Papers 2008.54, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  38. Schneider, Friedrich G. & Buehn, Andreas, 2007. "Shadow economies and corruption all over the world: revised estimates for 120 countries," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 1, pages 1-53.
  39. Chong, Alberto & Calderon, Cesar, 2000. "Institutional Quality and Income Distribution," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 48(4), pages 761-86, July.
  40. Schneider, Friedrich G., 2007. "Shadow Economies and Corruption All Over the World: New Estimates for 145 Countries," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 1, pages 1-66.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:40:y:2012:i:8:p:1534-1545. 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: (Shamier, Wendy)

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.