Monitoring Corruption: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Indonesia
This paper presents a randomized field experiment on reducing corruption in over 600 Indonesian village road projects. I find that increasing government audits from 4 percent of projects to 100 percent reduced missing expenditures, as measured by discrepancies between official project costs and an independent engineersâ€™ estimate of costs, by eight percentage points. By contrast, increasing grassroots participation in monitoring had little average impact, reducing missing expenditures only in situations with limited free-rider problems and limited elite capture. Overall, the results suggest that traditional top-down monitoring can play an important role in reducing corruption, even in a highly corrupt environment.
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