Collective (In)Action and Corruption: Access to Improved Water and Sanitation
A country’s levels of collective action in the provision of socially desirable goods and services are primarily determined by its level of development, important natural attributes, and its unique institutional characteristics. In general, one can expect that, given a particular set of natural attributes and institutions, the greater a county’s per capita GDP, the more extensive will be its commitment to the provision of goods and services that require collective action. The primary contention of this paper is that one of the most important aspects of institutions that affect socially desirable collective action is the extent of public sector corruption. More specifically, we first develop a theoretical model which explicitly shows the relations between per capita GDP, corruption, and collective action in the form of the provision of improved drinking water and appropriate sanitation facilities. We test our model by analyzing a sample of 77 countries, annually, between 1982 and 2001, for a total sample of 1,519 observations. Relying on a two-way fixed effects estimation strategy, we find that corruption does in fact lead to lower levels of both access to improved drinking water and appropriate sanitation than a given country’s level of per capita GDP and other institutions alone would predict.
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