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Electoral Rules and Corruption

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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.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_416
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    1. Rafael Di Tella & Alberto Ades, 1999. "Rents, Competition, and Corruption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 982-993, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Reinikka, Ritva & Svensson, Jakob, 2004. "The power of information : evidence from a newspaper campaign to reduce capture," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3239, The World Bank.
    2. Barry Eichengreen & David Leblang, 2008. "Democracy And Globalization," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(3), pages 289-334, November.
    3. Verardi, Vincenzo, 2004. "Elecotral Systems and Corruption," Revista Latinoamericana de Desarrollo Economico, Instituto de Investigaciones Socio-Económicas (IISEC-UCB), Universidad Católica Boliviana, issue 3, pages 117-150, Octubre.
    4. Ghulam Shabbir & Mumtaz Anwar, 2007. "Determinants of Corruption in Developing Countries," The Pakistan Development Review, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, vol. 46(4), pages 751-764.
    5. Testa, Cecilia, 2003. "Government corruption and legislative procedures: is one chamber better than two?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 6642, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    6. 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.
    7. Filipe R. Campante & Davin Chor & Quoc‐Anh Do, 2009. "Instability And The Incentives For Corruption," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 21(1), pages 42-92, March.
    8. Fukumoto, Kentaro & Horiuchi, Yusaku, 2011. "Making Outsiders' Votes Count: Detecting Electoral Fraud through a Natural Experiment," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 105(3), pages 586-603, August.
    9. Stijns, Jean-Philippe, 2006. "Natural resource abundance and human capital accumulation," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 34(6), pages 1060-1083, June.
    10. Daniel Lederman & Norman V. Loayza & Rodrigo R. Soares, 2005. "Accountability And Corruption: Political Institutions Matter," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(1), pages 1-35, March.
    11. John Morgan & Felix Várdy, 2011. "On the buyability of voting bodies," Journal of Theoretical Politics, , vol. 23(2), pages 260-287, April.
    12. Margit Tavits, 2007. "Clarity of Responsibility and Corruption," American Journal of Political Science, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 51(1), pages 218-229, January.
    13. Quoc-Anh Do & Filipe R. Campante, 2009. "Keeping Dictators Honest: the Role of Population Concentration," Working Papers 01-2009, Singapore Management University, School of Economics.
    14. Haldun Evrenk, 2004. "Mackerels in the moonlight. A model of corrupt politicians," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 501, Econometric Society.
    15. M. Haque & Richard Kneller, 2009. "Corruption clubs: endogenous thresholds in corruption and development," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 10(4), pages 345-373, November.
    16. Quoc-Anh Doy & Filipe R. Campante, 2009. "Keeping Dictators Honest : the Role of Population Concentration," Governance Working Papers 22076, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
    17. Tommaso Nannicini & Andrea Stella & Guido Tabellini & Ugo Troiano, 2013. "Social Capital and Political Accountability," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 222-250, May.
    18. G. Gulsun Arikan, 2004. "Fiscal Decentralization: A Remedy for Corruption?," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 11(2), pages 175-195, March.
    19. International Monetary Fund, 2005. "Fiscal Transparency and Economic Outcomes," IMF Working Papers 2005/225, International Monetary Fund.
    20. Blumkin, Tomer & Gradstein, Mark, 2002. "Transparency Gloves for Grabbing Hands? Politics and (Mis)Governance," CEPR Discussion Papers 3668, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    21. Anne van Aaken & Eli Salzberger & Stefan Voigt, "undated". "The Prosecution of Public Figures and the Separation of Powers: Confusion within the Executive Branch," German Working Papers in Law and Economics 2003-1-1062, Berkeley Electronic Press.
    22. Laura Baraldi, 2005. "Effects Of The Electoral Rules On The Size Of Government Spending: An Italian Region Panel Data Analysis," Working Papers 1_2005, D.E.S. (Department of Economic Studies), University of Naples "Parthenope", Italy.
    23. Kira Boerner & Christa Hainz, 2004. "The Political Economy of Corruption and the Role of Financial Institutions," CESifo Working Paper Series 1293, CESifo.
    24. Maurizio Bovi & Roberto Dell’Anno, 2010. "The changing nature of the OECD shadow economy," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 20(1), pages 19-48, January.

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