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How to Subvert Democracy: Montesinos in Peru

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  • McMillan, John
  • Zoido, Paolo

Abstract

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 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.

Suggested Citation

  • McMillan, John & Zoido, Paolo, 2004. "How to Subvert Democracy: Montesinos in Peru," CEPR Discussion Papers 4361, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:4361
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Cristian Pop-Eleches & Andrei Shleifer, 2004. "Judicial Checks and Balances," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(2), pages 445-470, April.
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    6. Djankov, Simeon & et al, 2003. "Who Owns the Media?," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 46(2), pages 341-381, October.
    7. Torsten Persson & Gérard Roland & Guido Tabellini, 1997. "Separation of Powers and Political Accountability," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1163-1202.
    8. Eric Maskin & Jean Tirole, 2004. "The Politician and the Judge: Accountability in Government," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 1034-1054, September.
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    10. repec:cup:apsrev:v:90:y:1996:i:02:p:303-315_20 is not listed on IDEAS
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    bribery; checks and balances; corruption; democracy; institutions; media; peru;

    JEL classification:

    • L82 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Entertainment; Media
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

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