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Privatization and Changes in Corruption Patterns: The Roots of Public Discontent

This paper offers a theory of how the degree of corruption that prevails in a society responds to changes in the ownership structure of major public service providers. We show that there are cases in which privatization, even though it fosters investments in infrastructure, also opens the door to more corruption. The public dissatisfaction towards privatization is then crucially affected by the changes in the degree and pattern of corruption. Our model thus helps understand the seemingly paradoxical situation prevailing in Latin America, where most studies find that privatizations have been efficiency-enhancing and have fostered investments and, at the same time, popular dissatisfaction with the process is extremely high, especially among the middle class. We show that this line of explanation is supported by evidence from surveys in the region.

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Paper provided by Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh in its series ESE Discussion Papers with number 147.

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Length: 39
Date of creation: Dec 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:edn:esedps:147
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  1. Myerson, Roger B, 1979. "Incentive Compatibility and the Bargaining Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 61-73, January.
  2. Laffont, Jean-Jacques, 1992. "The New Economics of Regulation Ten Years After," IDEI Working Papers 22, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  3. Auriol, E., 1998. "Corruption in Procurement and Public Purchase," G.R.E.Q.A.M. 98a29, Universite Aix-Marseille III.
  4. Antoine Faure-Grimaud & Jean-Jacques Laffont & David Martimort, 2002. "Risk averse supervisors and the efficiency of collusion," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  5. Karla Hoff & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 2005. "The Creation of the Rule of Law and the Legitimacy of Property Rights: The Political and Economic Consequences of a Corrupt Privatization," NBER Working Papers 11772, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. J�nos Kornai & Eric Maskin & G�rard Roland, 2003. "Understanding the Soft Budget Constraint," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(4), pages 1095-1136, December.
  7. Sebastian Galiani & Paul Gertler & Ernesto Schargrodsky, 2005. "Water for Life: The Impact of the Privatization of Water Services on Child Mortality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(1), pages 83-120, February.
  8. Estache, Antonio, 2004. "Emerging infrastructure policy issues in developing countries - a survey of the recent economic literature," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3442, The World Bank.
  9. Jean-Jacques Laffont & Jean Tirole, 1993. "A Theory of Incentives in Procurement and Regulation," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262121743, June.
  10. Schmidt, Klaus M, 1996. "The Costs and Benefits of Privatization: An Incomplete Contracts Approach," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(1), pages 1-24, April.
  11. Tirole, Jean, 1986. "Hierarchies and Bureaucracies: On the Role of Collusion in Organizations," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 2(2), pages 181-214, Fall.
  12. Faure-Grimaud, Antoine & Martimort, David, 2003. " Regulatory Inertia," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 34(3), pages 413-37, Autumn.
  13. repec:reg:rpubli:398 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. Eduardo Engel & Ronald Fischer & Alexander Galetovic, 2003. "Privatizing Highways in Latin America: Fixing What Went Wrong," ECONOMIA JOURNAL OF THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION, ECONOMIA JOURNAL OF THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION.
  15. Ilya R. Segal, 1998. "Monopoly and Soft Budget Constraint," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 29(3), pages 596-609, Autumn.
  16. Bennedsen, Morten, 2000. "Political ownership," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 559-581, June.
  17. Alberto Chong & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes, 2004. "Privatización en México," Research Department Publications 4374, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  18. Rafael La Porta & Florencio López-de-Silanes, 1997. "The Benefits of Privatization : Evidence from Mexico," World Bank Other Operational Studies 11583, The World Bank.
  19. Albert Chong & Florencio López-de-Silanes, 2004. "Privatization in Latin America: What Does the Evidence Say?," ECONOMIA JOURNAL OF THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION, ECONOMIA JOURNAL OF THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION.
  20. Clarke, George R. G. & Xu, Lixin Colin, 2004. "Privatization, competition, and corruption: how characteristics of bribe takers and payers affect bribes to utilities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 2067-2097, August.
  21. Kornai, Janos, 1986. "The Soft Budget Constraint," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(1), pages 3-30.
  22. Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1994. "Politicians and Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(4), pages 995-1025, November.
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