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Monitoring Corruption: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Indonesia

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  • Benjamin A. Olken

Abstract

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 engineers’ 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Benjamin A. Olken, 2007. "Monitoring Corruption: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Indonesia," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 200-249.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:115:y:2007:p:200-249
    DOI: 10.1086/517935
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption

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