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Social accountability to contain corruption


  • Ariane Lambert-Mogiliansky

    (PSE - Paris School of Economics, PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)


In this paper we investigate the welfare properties of simple reappointment rules aimed at holding public officials accountable and monitoring their activity. Public officials allocate budget resources to various activities delivering public services to citizens. Officials have discretion over the use of resource, and can divert some of them for private ends. Due to a liability constraint, zero diversion can never be obtained in all states. The optimal reappointment mechanism under complete information is shown to exhibit some leniency. In the absence of information a rule with random verification in a pre-announced subset is shown to be optimal. Surprisingly, most common rules make little use of hard information about service delivery when available. By way of contrast, requesting that the public official defend his record publicly can be very useful if service users can refute false claims with cheap-talk complaints: the first-best complete information outcome can be approached.

Suggested Citation

  • Ariane Lambert-Mogiliansky, 2015. "Social accountability to contain corruption," PSE - Labex "OSE-Ouvrir la Science Economique" halshs-01156481, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:pseose:halshs-01156481
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jdeveco.2015.04.006
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. Lipman Barton L. & Seppi Duane J., 1995. "Robust Inference in Communication Games with Partial Provability," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 370-405, August.
    3. 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.
    4. Rubinstein, Ariel & Glazer, Jacob, 2006. "A study in the pragmatics of persuasion: a game theoretical approach," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 1(4), pages 395-410, December.
    5. Jacob Glazer & Ariel Rubinstein, 2004. "On Optimal Rules of Persuasion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(6), pages 1715-1736, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Antonio Estache & Renaud Foucart, 2016. "Corruption and Incompetence in Public Procurement," Working Papers ECARES ECARES 2016-05, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    2. Ivar Kolstad & Arne Wiig, 2018. "How do voters respond to information on self-serving elite behaviour? Evidence from a randomized survey experiment in Tanzania," WIDER Working Paper Series 011, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).


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