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Desastres naturales, declaratoria de emergencia y corrupción

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  • Jhorland Ayala-García

Abstract

Corruption is generally understood as taking advantage of public power for private benefit. This paper evaluates the relationship between emergency declarations for natural disasters and corruption. We use information from Colombia between 2012 and 2022 and an instrumental variable approach. We take advantage of the exogeneity of the frequency of natural disasters to city level unobservable characteristics to construct our instrument. Since emergency declarations increase the discretion of local officials towards public spending, it is expected to see a rise in corruption. Our findings show a positive relationship between the frequency of natural disasters and the probability of emergency declaration, followed by an increase in observed corruption. The higher level of discretion of public officials not only increases the number of open cases of corruption and convictions, but also the amount of resources involved. We also find that the frequency of natural disasters is not associated with a higher level of expenditure in preemptive and relief spending, nor is it generating unexpected spending. This suggests that what is behind the higher corruption after an emergency declaration is a misappropriation of the budgeted resources in Colombian cities. **** RESUMEN: Generalmente se entiende por corrupción el aprovechamiento del poder público para beneficio privado. Este artículo evalúa la relación entre las declaraciones de emergencia por desastres naturales y la corrupción. Utilizamos información de Colombia entre 2012 y 2022 y un enfoque de variables instrumentales. Aprovechamos la exogeneidad de la frecuencia de los desastres naturales con respecto a las características no observables por municipio para construir nuestro instrumento. Dado que las declaraciones de emergencia aumentan la discrecionalidad de los funcionarios públicos locales para ejecutar gasto público, se espera un aumento de la corrupción. Nuestros hallazgos muestran una relación positiva entre la frecuencia de los desastres naturales y la probabilidad de una declaración de emergencia, seguida de un aumento en la corrupción observada. La mayor discrecionalidad de los funcionarios públicos no sólo aumenta el número de casos abiertos de corrupción y las condenas, sino también la cantidad de recursos involucrados. También encontramos que la frecuencia de los desastres naturales no está asociada con un mayor gasto preventivos y de alivio, ni genera gastos no presupuestados. Esto sugiere que lo que está detrás de la mayor corrupción tras una declaración de emergencia es una malversación de los recursos presupuestados en las ciudades colombianas.

Suggested Citation

  • Jhorland Ayala-García, 2024. "Desastres naturales, declaratoria de emergencia y corrupción," Documentos de trabajo sobre Economía Regional y Urbana 325, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.
  • Handle: RePEc:bdr:region:325
    DOI: 10.32468/dtseru.325
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    File URL: https://doi.org/10.32468/dtseru.325
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    corruption; governance; natural disasters; discretion; corrupción; gobernanza; desastres naturales; discreción;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • H57 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Procurement
    • H83 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues - - - Public Administration
    • H84 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues - - - Disaster Aid

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