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Public Sector Size and Corruption: Evidence from 290 Swedish Municipalities

  • Bergh, Andreas

    ()

    (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN))

  • Fink, Günther

    (Harvard School of Public Health)

  • Öhrvall, Richard

    (Linnaeus University)

In this paper, we use data from a corruption survey conducted among top politicians and high level civil servants in 290 Swedish municipalities in 2007 to investigate the effects of government size on corruption. We construct several measures of corruption based on the survey, and combine these corruption measures with detailed administrative municipality level data to estimate the effect of local government resources on corruption. In cross-sectional analysis, we find a robust and negative association between total public expenditure and corruption. When we use lagged population growth rates and age structure as instruments for expenditure in 2-stage-least-squares regressions, the point estimates remain negative, but are no longer significant. In contrast with standard political economy models, where a bigger public sector is typically assumed to cause problems with corruption and public office abuse, our results suggest that corruption pressures may be particularly high when government resources are limited.

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Paper provided by Research Institute of Industrial Economics in its series Working Paper Series with number 938.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: 12 Nov 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:iuiwop:0938
Contact details of provider: Postal: Research Institute of Industrial Economics, Box 55665, SE-102 15 Stockholm, Sweden
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Fax: +46 8 665 4599
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  1. La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert, 1999. "The Quality of Government," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 222-79, April.
  2. Joshua D. Angrist & Alan B. Krueger, 2001. "Instrumental Variables and the Search for Identification: From Supply and Demand to Natural Experiments," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(4), pages 69-85, Fall.
  3. Goel, Rajeev K & Nelson, Michael A, 1998. " Corruption and Government Size: A Disaggregated Analysis," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 97(1-2), pages 107-20, October.
  4. Acemoglu, D. & Verdier, T., 1997. "The Choice between Market Failures and Corruption," DELTA Working Papers 97-06, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  5. Alberto Alesina & George-Marios Angeletos, 2005. "Fairness and Redistribution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 960-980, September.
  6. Rajeev Goel & Michael Nelson, 2011. "Measures of corruption and determinants of US corruption," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 12(2), pages 155-176, June.
  7. repec:ner:tilbur:urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-3763893 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Lorenzo Pellegrini & Reyer Gerlagh, 2008. "Causes of corruption: a survey of cross-country analyses and extended results," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 245-263, July.
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