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Corruption and the Size of Local Governments: Are They Related?

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  • Michael A. Nelson

    () (University of Akron)

Abstract

Using a large cross-country data set of developing and developed countries it is found that less fragmented municipal government structures are associated with more honest (less corrupt) behavior by government officials. The evidence is strongest for high-income countries. Corruption is measured various ways, including perceived corruption by citizens and experienced corruption by business managers. Fragmentation is defined as the average “size” of a municipality, measured alternatively in terms of geographic area or population served. A similar conclusion is drawn for other “bottom-tier” governmental units, at the same level as municipalities or one tier below, although the results are less strong statistically. Overall, these findings suggest that some caution should be exercised before adopting more fragmented local government structures as a strategy to promote good governance.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael A. Nelson, 2012. "Corruption and the Size of Local Governments: Are They Related?," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper1210, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  • Handle: RePEc:ays:ispwps:paper1210
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    File URL: http://icepp.gsu.edu/files/2015/03/ispwp1210.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. Goel, Rajeev K. & Mazhar, Ummad & Nelson, Michael A. & Ram, Rati, 2017. "Different forms of decentralization and their impact on government performance: Micro-level evidence from 113 countries," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 171-183.
    2. Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Santiago Lago-Peñas & Agnese Sacchi, 2017. "The Impact Of Fiscal Decentralization: A Survey," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(4), pages 1095-1129, September.
    3. Nadia Fiorino & Emma Galli & Fabio Padovano, 2013. "Do fiscal decentralization and government fragmentation affect corruption in different ways? Evidence from a panel data analysis," Chapters,in: The Challenge of Local Government Size, chapter 5, pages 121-147 Edward Elgar Publishing.

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