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Judicial Presence and Rent Extraction

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  • Stephan Litschig
  • Yves Zamboni

Abstract

We estimate the effect of state judiciary presence on rent extraction in Brazilian local governments. We measure rents as irregularities related to waste or corruption uncovered by central government auditors. Our unique dataset at the level of individual inspections allows us to separately examine the spread and depth of rent extraction in local administrations. The identification strategy is based on an institutional rule of state judiciary branches according to which prosecutors and judges tend to be assigned to the most populous among contiguous counties forming a judiciary district. Our research design exploits this rule by comparing counties that are largest in their district to counties with identical population size from other districts in the same state, where they are not the most populous. IV estimates suggest that state judiciary presence reduces the share of inspections with irregularities related to waste or corruption by about 10 percent or 0.3 standard deviations.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephan Litschig & Yves Zamboni, 2015. "Judicial Presence and Rent Extraction," Working Papers 796, Barcelona School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:796
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    Cited by:

    1. Stephan Litschig & Yves Zamboni, 2011. "Audit risk and rent extraction: Evidence from a randomized evaluation in Brazil," Economics Working Papers 1270, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Jun 2013.
    2. Lucie Gadenne, 2017. "Tax Me, but Spend Wisely? Sources of Public Finance and Government Accountability," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(1), pages 274-314, January.
    3. Decio Coviello & Luigi Moretti & Giancarlo Spagnolo & Paola Valbonesi, 2018. "Court Efficiency and Procurement Performance," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 120(3), pages 826-858, July.
    4. Eric Avis & Claudio Ferraz & Frederico Finan, 2018. "Do Government Audits Reduce Corruption? Estimating the Impacts of Exposing Corrupt Politicians," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 126(5), pages 1912-1964.
    5. Marcos Yamada Nakaguma, 2013. "Choosing the Form of Government: Theory and Evidence from Brazil," Working Papers, Department of Economics 2013_17, University of São Paulo (FEA-USP).
    6. Guilherme Lichand & Rodrigo R. Soares, 2014. "Access to Justice and Entrepreneurship: Evidence from Brazil's Special Civil Tribunals," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 57(2), pages 459-499.
    7. Zamboni, Yves & Litschig, Stephan, 2018. "Audit risk and rent extraction: Evidence from a randomized evaluation in Brazil," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 134(C), pages 133-149.
    8. De La O, Ana L. & Fernández-Vázquez, Pablo & Martel García, Fernando, 2023. "Federal and state audits do not increase compliance with a grant program to improve municipal infrastructure: A pre-registered field experiment," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 162(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    institutions; corruption; rents; local governments;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • H83 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues - - - Public Administration

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