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Corruption along ethnic lines: A study of individual corruption experiences in 17 African countries

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  • Isaksson, Ann-Sofie

    () (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)

Abstract

While a growing literature relates macro variation in corruption to ethnic divisions, existing studies have paid little attention to the possible existence of systematic micro variation in corruption along ethnic lines. The present paper examines whether individual corruption experiences vary systematically depending on ethnic group affiliation, and what the nature of this possible variation is. More specifically, it considers the effect of belonging to influential ethnic groups. Empirical findings drawing on data for more than 23,000 respondents in 17 African countries indeed suggest that individual corruption experiences vary systematically along ethnic lines. Belonging to influential ethnic groups – in terms of relative group size or relative economic and political standing – is associated with a greater probability of having experienced corruption. Assuming that belonging to a larger and economically/politically stronger group helps proxy for a greater probability of the corrupt public official being a co-ethnic, this should imply more corruption among co-ethnics, supporting the idea that enforcement mechanisms within ethnic groups could act to strengthen corrupt contracts. The results depend on the type of corruption considered, though; when focusing on a more clearly extortive form of corruption, there is less evidence of collusive behaviour.

Suggested Citation

  • Isaksson, Ann-Sofie, 2013. "Corruption along ethnic lines: A study of individual corruption experiences in 17 African countries," Working Papers in Economics 571, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0571
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2077/33676
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Isaksson, Ann-Sofie & Kotsadam, Andreas, 2018. "Chinese aid and local corruption," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 159(C), pages 146-159.
    2. Samuel Brazys & Johan A. Elkink & Gina Kelly, 2017. "Bad neighbors? How co-located Chinese and World Bank development projects impact local corruption in Tanzania," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 12(2), pages 227-253, June.
    3. Frédéric Gaspart & Pierre Pecher, 2019. "Ethnic Inclusiveness of the Central State Government and Economic Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 28(2), pages 176-201.
    4. Gans-Morse, Jordan & Borges, Mariana & Makarin, Alexey & Mannah-Blankson, Theresa & Nickow, Andre & Zhang, Dong, 2018. "Reducing bureaucratic corruption: Interdisciplinary perspectives on what works," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 171-188.
    5. D'Haene, E. & Desiere, S. & D'Haese, M. & Verbeke, W. & Schoors, K., 2018. "Religion, food choices, and demand seasonality: Evidence from the Ethiopian milk market," 2018 Conference, July 28-August 2, 2018, Vancouver, British Columbia 276029, International Association of Agricultural Economists.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    corruption; ethnic groups; Africa; afrobarometer;

    JEL classification:

    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O55 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Africa

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