Optimal Extortion and Political Risk Insurance
We study the problem faced by firms that invest in a foreign country characterized by weak governance. Our focus is on extortion relying on the threat of expropriation and bureaucratic harassment. The bureaucrat's power is characterized by looking at a general extortion mechanism adapted from Myerson's (1981) optimal auction theory. This characterization is used to study the determinants of the quality of governance and whether and how political risk insurance of foreign direct investments improve upon it. We find that it does not always improve upon all governance indicators. It always decreases the bureaucrat's total revenue from corruption, but it may also increase the risk of expropriation and the extortion bribes paid by some firms.
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