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Fiscal consequences of public corruption: Empirical evidence from state bond ratings


  • Craig Depken
  • Courtney Lafountain



Empirical analyses of public corruption focus predominantly on international differences; regional differences in public corruption within a single country receive little attention. We empirically investigate the effect of public corruption in the United States on state bond ratings, which previous research shows are inversely related to net interest costs on public debt. After controlling for various economic influences on bond ratings, we find that more corrupt states have lower bond ratings, which implies that taxpayers in more corrupt states face a negative pecuniary externality by paying a premium for debt. Copyright Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2006

Suggested Citation

  • Craig Depken & Courtney Lafountain, 2006. "Fiscal consequences of public corruption: Empirical evidence from state bond ratings," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 126(1), pages 75-85, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:126:y:2006:i:1:p:75-85
    DOI: 10.1007/s11127-006-4315-0

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," NBER Chapters,in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Alberto Alesina & Beatrice Weder, 2002. "Do Corrupt Governments Receive Less Foreign Aid?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1126-1137, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Turhan Kaymak & Eralp Bektas, 2015. "Corruption in Emerging Markets: A Multidimensional Study," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 124(3), pages 785-805, December.
    2. Dimant, Eugen, 2014. "The Antecedents and Effects of Corruption - A Reassessment of Current (Empirical) Findings," MPRA Paper 60947, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. James E. Alt & David Dreyer Lassen, 2010. "Enforcement and Public Corruption: Evidence from US States," EPRU Working Paper Series 2010-08, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    4. Oto-Peralías, Daniel & Romero-Ávila, Diego & Usabiaga, Carlos, 2013. "Does fiscal decentralization mitigate the adverse effects of corruption on public deficits?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 205-231.
    5. Yasar, Mahmut & Paul, Catherine J. Morrison & Ward, Michael R., 2011. "Property Rights Institutions and Firm Performance: A Cross-Country Analysis," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 648-661, April.
    6. Schelker, Mark, 2012. "Auditor expertise: Evidence from the public sector," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 116(3), pages 432-435.
    7. Jan Hanousek & Evžen Kočenda, 2011. "Public Investment and Fiscal Performance in the New EU Member States," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 32(1), pages 43-71, March.
    8. repec:bla:pbudge:v:37:y:2017:i:3:p:24-46 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Cooray, Arusha & Dzhumashev, Ratbek & Schneider, Friedrich, 2017. "How Does Corruption Affect Public Debt? An Empirical Analysis," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 115-127.
    10. Jan Hanousek & Evžen Kočenda, 2011. "Vazba korupce a hospodářské svobody na veřejné finance a investice nových členů EU
      [Corruption and Economic Freedom Links to Public Finance and Investment in New EU Members]
      ," Politická ekonomie, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 2011(3), pages 310-328.
    11. repec:bla:kyklos:v:70:y:2017:i:2:p:306-329 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Tima T. Moldogaziev & Tatyana Guzman, 2015. "Economic Crises, Economic Structure, and State Credit Quality Through-the-Cycle," Public Budgeting & Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(4), pages 42-67, December.
    13. Neiva de Figueiredo, João, 2013. "Are corruption levels accurately identified? The case of U.S. states," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 134-149.
    14. repec:zag:zirebs:v:20:y:2017:i:1:p:113-123 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Noel Johnson & Courtney LaFountain & Steven Yamarik, 2011. "Corruption is bad for growth (even in the United States)," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 147(3), pages 377-393, June.
    16. Mark Schelker, 2012. "The influence of auditor term length and term limits on US state general obligation bond ratings," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 150(1), pages 27-49, January.
    17. repec:spr:ecogov:v:19:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s10101-018-0201-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. James E. Alt & David Dreyer Lassen, 2008. "Inequality and Corruption: Evidence from US States," EPRU Working Paper Series 08-02, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    19. Monica Escaleras & Nejat Anbarci & Charles Register, 2007. "Public sector corruption and major earthquakes: A potentially deadly interaction," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 132(1), pages 209-230, July.

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