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How to Subvert Democracy: Montesinos in Peru

  • John McMillan
  • Pablo Zoido

Which of the democratic checks and balances - opposition parties, the judiciary, a free press -is the most critical? Peru has the full set of democratic institutions. In the 1990s, the secret-police chief Vladimiro Montesinos systematically undermined them all with bribes. We quantify the checks using the bribe prices. Montesinos paid television-channel owners about 100 times what he paid judges and politicians. One single television channel’s bribe was four times larger than the total of the opposition politicians’ bribes. By revealed preference, the strongest check on the government’s power was the news media.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 1173.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1173
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  1. Timothy Besley & Andrea Prat, 2006. "Handcuffs for the Grabbing Hand? Media Capture and Government Accountability," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 720-736, June.
  2. Persson, Torsten & Roland, Gerard & Tabellini, Guido, 1997. "Separation of Powers and Political Accountability," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1163-1202, November.
  3. La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Pop-Eleches, Cristian & Shleifer, Andrei, 2004. "Judicial Checks and Balances," Scholarly Articles 3451311, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. J. Mark Payne & Carles Boix & Alícia Adserà, 2000. "Are You Being Served?: Political Accountability and Quality of Government," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 6478, Inter-American Development Bank.
  5. Djankov, Simeon & Caralee, McLiesh & Nenova, Tatiana & Shleifer, Andrei, 2003. "Who Owns the Media?," Scholarly Articles 3606236, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  6. Stole, Lars A & Zwiebel, Jeffrey, 1996. "Intra-firm Bargaining under Non-binding Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(3), pages 375-410, July.
  7. Brunetti, Aymo & Weder, Beatrice, 2003. "A free press is bad news for corruption," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(7-8), pages 1801-1824, August.
  8. Eric Maskin & Jean Tirole, 2004. "The Politician and the Judge: Accountability in Government," Economics Working Papers 0020, Institute for Advanced Study, School of Social Science.
  9. Lambsdorff, Johann Graf, 2002. "Making corrupt deals: contracting in the shadow of the law," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 221-241, July.
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