IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Economic Growth, Health, and the Choice of Polluting Technologies: The Role of Bureaucratic Corruption


  • Dimitrios Varvarigos



I model an economy where the adverse health effects of pollution impede labour productivity and capital accumulation is the source of economic growth. Pollution is generated by firms that choose whether to employ a dirty technology and pay an environmental tax, or employ a clean technology and incur the cost of its adoption. The task of inspecting the environmental impact of each firm’s production technology is delegated to bureaucrats who are corruptible since they receive bribes in order to mislead authorities on the firms’ actual technology choice. The model can generate multiple steady state equilibria. In this context, the multiplicity of equilibria is associated with indeterminacy, due to the self-fulfilling nature of corruption incentives and the relevant implications for pollution, productivity and economic growth.

Suggested Citation

  • Dimitrios Varvarigos, 2013. "Economic Growth, Health, and the Choice of Polluting Technologies: The Role of Bureaucratic Corruption," Discussion Papers in Economics 13/22, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.
  • Handle: RePEc:lec:leecon:13/22

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hanna, Rema & Oliva, Paulina, 2015. "The effect of pollution on labor supply: Evidence from a natural experiment in Mexico City," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 68-79.
    2. Pautrel, Xavier, 2009. "Pollution and life expectancy: How environmental policy can promote growth," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(4), pages 1040-1051, February.
    3. Clemens, Christiane & Pittel, Karen, 2011. "Labor Supply And Growth Effects Of Environmental Policy Under Technological Risk," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 15(01), pages 31-59, February.
    4. Ostro, Bart D., 1983. "The effects of air pollution on work loss and morbidity," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 371-382, December.
    5. Robin Burgess & Matthew Hansen & Benjamin A. Olken & Peter Potapov & Stefanie Sieber, 2012. "The Political Economy of Deforestation in the Tropics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(4), pages 1707-1754.
    6. Byrne, Margaret M., 1997. "Is growth a dirty word? Pollution, abatement and endogenous growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 261-284, December.
    7. Dimitrios Varvarigos, 2010. "Environmental Degradation, Longevity, and the Dynamics of Economic Development," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 46(1), pages 59-73, May.
    8. Cole, Matthew A., 2007. "Corruption, income and the environment: An empirical analysis," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(3-4), pages 637-647, May.
    9. Redding, Stephen, 1996. "The Low-Skill, Low-Quality Trap: Strategic Complementarities between Human Capital and R&D," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(435), pages 458-470, March.
    10. Kate Ivanova, 2011. "Corruption and air pollution in Europe," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(1), pages 49-70, January.
    11. Raymond Gradus & Sjak Smulders, 1993. "The trade-off between environmental care and long-term growth—Pollution in three prototype growth models," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 58(1), pages 25-51, February.
    12. Isaac Ehrlich & Francis T. Lui, 1999. "Bureaucratic Corruption and Endogenous Economic Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages 270-293, December.
    13. María-José Gutiérrez, 2008. "Dynamic Inefficiency in an Overlapping Generation Economy with Pollution and Health Costs," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 10(4), pages 563-594, August.
    14. Itaya, Jun-ichi, 2008. "Can environmental taxation stimulate growth? The role of indeterminacy in endogenous growth models with environmental externalities," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 1156-1180, April.
    15. Blackburn, Keith & Forgues-Puccio, Gonzalo F., 2007. "Distribution and development in a model of misgovernance," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(6), pages 1534-1563, August.
    16. Damania, Richard, 2002. "Environmental controls with corrupt bureaucrats," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 7(03), pages 407-427, July.
    17. Thierry Verdier & Daron Acemoglu, 2000. "The Choice between Market Failures and Corruption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 194-211, March.
    18. Andvig, Jens Chr. & Moene, Karl Ove, 1990. "How corruption may corrupt," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 63-76, January.
    19. James P. Smith, 1999. "Healthy Bodies and Thick Wallets: The Dual Relation between Health and Economic Status," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 145-166, Spring.
    20. Echenique, Federico & Edlin, Aaron, 2004. "Mixed equilibria are unstable in games of strategic complements," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 118(1), pages 61-79, September.
    21. Thomas N. Hubbard, 1998. "An Empirical Examination of Moral Hazard in the Vehicle Inspection Market," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 29(2), pages 406-426, Summer.
    22. Garth Heutel, 2012. "How Should Environmental Policy Respond to Business Cycles? Optimal Policy under Persistent Productivity Shocks," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 15(2), pages 244-264, April.
    23. Richard Damania & Per Fredriksson & Muthukumara Mani, 2004. "The Persistence of Corruption and Regulatory Compliance Failures: Theory and Evidence," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 121(3), pages 363-390, February.
    24. Garth Heutel, 2012. "How Should Environmental Policy Respond to Business Cycles? Optimal Policy under Persistent Productivity Shocks," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 15(2), pages 244-264, April.
    25. Fredriksson, Per G. & Svensson, Jakob, 2003. "Political instability, corruption and policy formation: the case of environmental policy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(7-8), pages 1383-1405, August.
    26. Marta Aloi & Frederic Tournemaine, 2013. "Inequality, growth, and environmental quality tradeoffs in a model with human capital accumulation," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 46(3), pages 1123-1155, August.
    27. Lopez, Ramon & Mitra, Siddhartha, 2000. "Corruption, Pollution, and the Kuznets Environment Curve," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 137-150, September.
    28. Paolo Mauro, 1995. "Corruption and Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(3), pages 681-712.
    29. Gradstein, Mark, 2004. "Governance and growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 505-518, April.
    30. Theo Eicher & Cecilia García-Peñalosa & Tanguy Ypersele, 2009. "Education, corruption, and the distribution of income," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 205-231, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Corruption; Economic Growth; Health; Pollution; Productivity;

    JEL classification:

    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
    • O44 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Environment and Growth
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:lec:leecon:13/22. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mrs. Alexandra Mazzuoccolo). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.