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Who Must Pay Bribes and How Much? Evidence from a Cross Section of Firms

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  • Jakob Svensson

Abstract

This paper uses a unique data set on corruption containing quantitative information on bribe payments of Ugandan firms. The data have two striking features: not all firms report that they need to pay bribes, and there is considerable variation in reported graft across firms facing similar institutions/policies. We propose an explanation for these patterns, based on differences in control rights and bargaining strength across firms. Consistent with the control rights/bargaining hypotheses, we find that the incidence of corruption can be explained by the variation in policies/regulations across industries. How much must bribe-paying firms pay? Combining the quantitative data on corruption with detailed financial information from the surveyed firms, we show that firms' "ability to pay" and firms' "refusal power" can explain a large part of the variation in bribes across graft-reporting firms. These results suggest that public officials act as price (bribe) discriminators, and that prices of public services are partly determined in order to extract bribes.

Suggested Citation

  • Jakob Svensson, 2003. "Who Must Pay Bribes and How Much? Evidence from a Cross Section of Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(1), pages 207-230.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:118:y:2003:i:1:p:207-230.
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1162/00335530360535180
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    JEL classification:

    • C70 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - General
    • D00 - Microeconomics - - General - - - General

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