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Public Expenditures, Bureaucratic Corruption and Economic Development

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  • K Blackburn
  • G Forgues-Puccio

Abstract

This paper presents a dynamic general equilibrium analysis of public sector corruption and economic growth. In an economy with government intervention and capital accumulation, state-appointed bureaucrats are charged with the responsibility for procuring public goods which contribute to productive efficiency. Corruption arises because of an opportunity for bureaucrats to appropriate public funds by misinforming the government about the cost and quality of public goods provision. The incentive for each bureaucrat to do this depends on economy-wide outcomes which, in turn, depend on the behaviour of all bureaucrats. We establish the existence of multiple development regimes, together with the possibility of multiple, frequency-dependent equilibria. The predictions of our analysis accord strongly with recent empirical evidence on the causes and consequences of corruption in public office.We study the effect of international financial integration on economic development when the quality of governance may be compromised by corruption. Our analysis is based on a dynamic general equilibrium model of a small economy in which growth is driven by capital accumulation and public policy is administered by government appointed bureaucrats. Corruption may arise due to the opportunity for bureaucrats to embezzle public funds, an opportunity that is made more attractive by financial liberalisation which, at the same time, raises efficiency in capital production. Our main results may be summarised as follows: (1) corruption is always bad for economic development, but its e¤ect is worse if the economy is open than if it is closed; (2) the incidence of corruption may, itself, be affected by both the development and openness of the economy; (3) financial liberalisation is good for development when governance is good, but may be bad for development when governance is bad; and (4) corruption and poverty may co-exist as permanent, rather than just transitory, fixtures of an economy.

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  • K Blackburn & G Forgues-Puccio, 2005. "Public Expenditures, Bureaucratic Corruption and Economic Development," Centre for Growth and Business Cycle Research Discussion Paper Series 54, Economics, The University of Manchester.
  • Handle: RePEc:man:cgbcrp:54
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