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Electoral Rules and Corruption

Author

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  • Torsten Persson
  • Guido Tabellini
  • Francesco Trebbi

Abstract

Is corruption systematically related to electoral rules? A number of studies have tried to uncover economic and social determinants of corruption but, as far as we know, nobody has yet empirically investigated how electoral systems influence corruption. We try to address this lacuna in the literature, by relating corruption to different features of the electoral system in a sample from the late nineties encompassing more than 80 (developed and developing) democracies. Our empirical results are based on traditional regression methods, as well as non-parametric estimators. The evidence is consistent with the theoretical models reviewed in the paper. Holding constant a variety of economic and social variables, we find that larger voting districts – and thus lower barriers to entry – are associated with less corruption, whereas larger shares of candidates elected from party lists – and thus less individual accountability – are associated with more corruption. Altogether, proportional elections are associated with more corruption, since voting over party lists is the dominant effect, while the district magnitude effect is less robust.

Suggested Citation

  • Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini & Francesco Trebbi, 2001. "Electoral Rules and Corruption," CESifo Working Paper Series 416, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_416
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    File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/DocDL/cesifo_wp416.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Rafael Di Tella & Alberto Ades, 1999. "Rents, Competition, and Corruption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 982-993, September.
    2. James J. Heckman & Hidehiko Ichimura & Petra E. Todd, 1997. "Matching As An Econometric Evaluation Estimator: Evidence from Evaluating a Job Training Programme," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(4), pages 605-654.
    3. Richard Blundell & Monica Costa Dias, 2000. "Evaluation methods for non-experimental data," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 21(4), pages 427-468, January.
    4. Rajeev H. Dehejia & Sadek Wahba, 1998. "Causal Effects in Non-Experimental Studies: Re-Evaluating the Evaluation of Training Programs," NBER Working Papers 6586, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. James Heckman & Hidehiko Ichimura & Jeffrey Smith & Petra Todd, 1998. "Characterizing Selection Bias Using Experimental Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(5), pages 1017-1098, September.
    6. John Ferejohn, 1986. "Incumbent performance and electoral control," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 5-25, January.
    7. James J. Heckman & Hidehiko Ichimura & Petra Todd, 1998. "Matching As An Econometric Evaluation Estimator," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 65(2), pages 261-294.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making
    • H1 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government

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