IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/10775.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Corruption and Reform: An Introduction

Author

Listed:
  • Edward L. Glaeser
  • Claudia Goldin

Abstract

The United States today, according to most studies, is among the least corrupt nations in the world. But America's past was checkered with political scandal and widespread corruption that would not seem unusual compared with the most corrupt developing nation today. We construct a "corruption and fraud index" using word counts from a large number of newspapers for 1815 to 1975, supplemented with other historical facts. The index reveals that America experienced a substantial decrease in corruption from 1870 to 1920, particularly from the late-1870s to the mid-1880s and again in the 1910s. At its peak in the 1870s the "corruption and fraud index" is about five times its level from the end of the Progressive Era to the 1970s. If the United States was once considerably more corrupt than it is today, then America's history should offer lessons about how to reduce corruption. How did America become a less corrupt polity, economy, and society? We review the findings and insights from a series of essays for a conference volume, Corruption and Reform: Lessons from America's History, for which this paper is the introduction that attempt to understand the remarkable evolution of corruption and reform in U.S. history.

Suggested Citation

  • Edward L. Glaeser & Claudia Goldin, 2004. "Corruption and Reform: An Introduction," NBER Working Papers 10775, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10775
    Note: LE DAE
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w10775.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Edward L. Glaeser & Andrei Shleifer, 2003. "The Rise of the Regulatory State," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(2), pages 401-425, June.
    2. George J. Stigler, 1971. "The Theory of Economic Regulation," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 2(1), pages 3-21, Spring.
    3. Gary S. Becker & George J. Stigler, 1974. "Law Enforcement, Malfeasance, and Compensation of Enforcers," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(1), pages 1-18, January.
    4. John Mcmillan & Pablo Zoido, 2004. "How to Subvert Democracy: Montesinos in Peru," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(4), pages 69-92, Fall.
    5. Gaviria, Alejandro, 2002. "Assessing the effects of corruption and crime on firm performance: evidence from Latin America," Emerging Markets Review, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 245-268, September.
    6. Rose-Ackerman, Susan, 1975. "The economics of corruption," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 187-203, February.
    7. repec:hrv:faseco:30747197 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Alejandro Gaviria Uribe, 2000. "Assessing the effects of corruption and crime on firm performance," INFORMES DE INVESTIGACIÓN 002031, FEDESARROLLO.
    9. Di Tella, Rafael & Schargrodsky, Ernesto, 2003. "The Role of Wages and Auditing during a Crackdown on Corruption in the City of Buenos Aires," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 46(1), pages 269-292, April.
    10. Edward L. Glaeser, 2001. "Public Ownership in the American City," NBER Working Papers 8613, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Paolo Mauro, 1995. "Corruption and Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(3), pages 681-712.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Thum, Marcel, 2004. "Korruption," Dresden Discussion Paper Series in Economics 11/04, Technische Universität Dresden, Faculty of Business and Economics, Department of Economics.
    2. Edward L. Glaeser & Joseph Gyourko & Raven E. Saks, 2005. "Why Have Housing Prices Gone Up?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 329-333, May.
    3. Sah, Raaj, 2007. "Corruption across countries and regions: Some consequences of local osmosis," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 31(8), pages 2573-2598, August.
    4. Querubin, Pablo & Snyder, James M., 2013. "The Control of Politicians in Normal Times and Times of Crisis: Wealth Accumulation by U.S. Congressmen, 1850–1880," Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 8(4), pages 409-450, October.
    5. Edward L. Glaeser & Raven Saks, 2004. "Corruption in America," NBER Working Papers 10821, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Glaeser, Edward L. & Saks, Raven E., 2006. "Corruption in America," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(6-7), pages 1053-1072, August.
    7. Adriana Cordis, 2009. "Judicial checks on corruption in the United States," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 10(4), pages 375-401, November.
    8. James E. Alt & David D. Lassen, 2008. "Political And Judicial Checks On Corruption: Evidence From American State Governments," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(1), pages 33-61, March.
    9. L. Cameron & A. Chaudhuri & N. Erkal & L. Gangadharan, 2005. "Do Attitudes Towards Corruption Differ Across Cultures? Experimental Evidence from Australia, India, Indonesia andSingapore," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 943, The University of Melbourne.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H1 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • N4 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    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:nbr:nberwo:10775. 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: (). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    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.