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Misunderestimating Corruption

Author

Listed:
  • Aart Kraay

    (The World Bank)

  • Peter Murrell

    (University of Maryland)

Abstract

Corruption estimates rely largely on self-reports of affected individuals and officials. Yet survey respondents are often reticent to tell the truth about sensitive subjects, leading to downward biases in surveybased corruption estimates. This paper develops a method to estimate the prevalence of reticent behavior and reticence-adjusted rates of corruption using survey responses to sensitive questions. A statistical model captures how respondents answer a combination of conventional and randomresponse questions, allowing identification of the effect of reticence. GMM and maximum likelihood estimates are obtained for ten countries. Adjusting for reticence dramatically alters the perceptions of the extent of corruption.

Suggested Citation

  • Aart Kraay & Peter Murrell, 2016. "Misunderestimating Corruption," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 98(3), pages 455-466, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:98:y:2016:i:3:p:455-466
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    File URL: http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1162/REST_a_00536
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
    2. Erick Gong, 2011. "HIV Testing and Risky Sexual Behavior," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 1101, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
    3. Bianca Clausen & Aart Kraay & Peter Murrell, 2011. "Does Respondent Reticence Affect the Results of Corruption Surveys? Evidence from the World Bank Enterprise Survey for Nigeria," Chapters,in: International Handbook on the Economics of Corruption, Volume Two, chapter 15 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    4. Olken, Benjamin A., 2009. "Corruption perceptions vs. corruption reality," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(7-8), pages 950-964, August.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Bernard GAUTHIER & Frédéric LESNÉ, 2017. "Measuring corruption in presence of reticent respondents: Theory and Application," Working Papers P207, FERDI.
    2. Bernard GAUTHIER & Frédéric LESNÉ, 2017. "Measuring corruption in presence of reticent respondents: Theory and Application," Working Papers P207, FERDI.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Corruption; reticence; random response questions;

    JEL classification:

    • C83 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Survey Methods; Sampling Methods
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • O43 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Institutions and Growth

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