IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/11753.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Monitoring Corruption: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Indonesia

Author

Listed:
  • Benjamin A. Olken

Abstract

This paper uses a randomized field experiment to examine several approaches to reducing corruption. I measure missing expenditures in over 600 village road projects in Indonesia by having engineers independently estimate the prices and quantities of all inputs used in each road, and then comparing these estimates to villages' official expenditure reports. I find that announcing an increased probability of a government audit, from a baseline of 4 percent to 100 percent, reduced missing expenditures by about 8 percentage points, more than enough to make these audits cost-effective. By contrast, I find that increasing grass-roots participation in the monitoring process only reduced missing wages, with no effect on missing materials expenditures. Since materials account for three-quarters of total expenditures, increasing grass-roots participation had little impact overall. The findings suggest that grass-roots monitoring may be subject to free-rider problems. Overall, the results suggest that traditional top-down monitoring can play an important role in reducing corruption, even in a highly corrupt environment.

Suggested Citation

  • Benjamin A. Olken, 2005. "Monitoring Corruption: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Indonesia," NBER Working Papers 11753, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11753
    Note: PE
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w11753.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Pranab Bardhan & Dilip Mookherjee, 2000. "Corruption and Decentralization of Infrastructure Delivery in Developing Countries," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 104, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
    2. 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.
    3. Raymond Fisman & Shang-Jin Wei, 2004. "Tax Rates and Tax Evasion: Evidence from "Missing Imports" in China," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(2), pages 471-500, April.
    4. Pranab Bardhan & Dilip Mookherjee, 2006. "Decentralisation and Accountability in Infrastructure Delivery in Developing Countries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(508), pages 101-127, January.
    5. Krueger, Anne O, 1974. "The Political Economy of the Rent-Seeking Society," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(3), pages 291-303, June.
    6. Daniel S. Nagin & James B. Rebitzer & Seth Sanders & Lowell J. Taylor, 2002. "Monitoring, Motivation, and Management: The Determinants of Opportunistic Behavior in a Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 850-873, September.
    7. Stiglitz, Joseph E, 2002. "Participation and Development: Perspectives from the Comprehensive Development Paradigm," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(2), pages 163-182, June.
    8. Benjamin A. Olken, 2007. "Monitoring Corruption: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Indonesia," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 200-249.
    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. Cadot, Olivier, 1987. "Corruption as a gamble," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 223-244, July.
    11. Chang-Tai Hsieh & Enrico Moretti, 2006. "Did Iraq Cheat the United Nations? Underpricing, Bribes, and the Oil for Food Program," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(4), pages 1211-1248.
    12. Ritva Reinikka & Jakob Svensson, 2004. "Local Capture: Evidence from a Central Government Transfer Program in Uganda," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(2), pages 679-705.
    13. Pranab Bardhan, 2002. "Decentralization of Governance and Development," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(4), pages 185-205, Fall.
    14. Ballard, Charles L & Shoven, John B & Whalley, John, 1985. "General Equilibrium Computations of the Marginal Welfare Costs of Taxes in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(1), pages 128-138, March.
    15. 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)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Olken, Benjamin A., 2009. "Corruption perceptions vs. corruption reality," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(7-8), pages 950-964, August.
    2. Fang, Hanming & Gu, Quanlin & Zhou, Li-An, 2019. "The gradients of power: Evidence from the Chinese housing market," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 176(C), pages 32-52.
    3. Roberto Burguet & Juan-José Ganuza & José García-Montalvo, 2016. "The Microeconomics of Corruption. A Review of Thirty Years of Research," Working Papers 908, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    4. Auriol, Emmanuelle & Straub, Stéphane & Flochel, Thomas, 2016. "Public Procurement and Rent-Seeking: The Case of Paraguay," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 395-407.
    5. Oana Borcan & Mikael Lindahl & Andreea Mitrut, 2017. "Fighting Corruption in Education: What Works and Who Benefits?," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 9(1), pages 180-209, February.
    6. Dean Yang, 2008. "Integrity for Hire: An Analysis of a Widespread Customs Reform," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 51(1), pages 25-57, February.
    7. Abhijit Banerjee & Rema Hanna, 2012. "Corruption," Introductory Chapters, in: Sendhil Mullainathan & Robert Gibbons & John Roberts (ed.),The Handbook of Organizational Economics, Princeton University Press.
      • Hanna, Rema N. & Mullainathan, Sendhil & Banerjee, Abhijit, 2012. "Corruption," Scholarly Articles 8830779, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
      • Banerjee, Abhijit & Hanna, Rema & Mullainathan, Sendhil, 2012. "Corruption," Working Paper Series rwp12-023, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
      • Abhijit Banerjee & Rema Hanna & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2012. "Corruption," Working Papers id:4952, eSocialSciences.
      • Abhijit Banerjee & Sendhil Mullainathan & Rema Hanna, 2012. "Corruption," NBER Working Papers 17968, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Carmelo León & Jorge Araña & Javier León, 2013. "Correcting for Scale Perception Bias in Measuring Corruption: an Application to Chile and Spain," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 114(3), pages 977-995, December.
    9. Krisztina Kis-Katos & Günther G. Schulze, 2013. "Corruption in Southeast Asia: a survey of recent research," Asian-Pacific Economic Literature, Asia Pacific School of Economics and Government, The Australian National University, vol. 27(1), pages 79-109, May.
    10. Jeffrey B. Nugent, 2014. "Detecting Corruption And Evaluating Programs To Control It: Some Lessons For Mena," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: Ishac Diwan (ed.), UNDERSTANDING THE POLITICAL ECONOMY OF THE ARAB UPRISINGS, chapter 7, pages 131-163, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    11. Marco Castillo & Ragan Petrie & Maximo Torero & Angelino Viceisza, 2014. "Lost In The Mail: A Field Experiment On Crime," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 52(1), pages 285-303, January.
    12. Yan Leung Cheung & P. Raghavendra Rau & Aris Stouraitis, 2012. "How much do firms pay as bribes and what benefits do they get? Evidence from corruption cases worldwide," NBER Working Papers 17981, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Benjamin A. Olken & Patrick Barron, 2009. "The Simple Economics of Extortion: Evidence from Trucking in Aceh," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 117(3), pages 417-452, June.
    14. Bernard Gauthier & Jonathan Goyette, 2016. "Fiscal policy and corruption," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 46(1), pages 57-79, January.
    15. Olken, Benjamin A., 2006. "Corruption and the costs of redistribution: Micro evidence from Indonesia," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(4-5), pages 853-870, May.
    16. Bernard Gauthier & Jonathan Goyette, 2016. "Fiscal policy and corruption," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 46(1), pages 57-79, January.
    17. Claudio Ferraz & Frederico Finan, 2011. "Electoral Accountability and Corruption: Evidence from the Audits of Local Governments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(4), pages 1274-1311, June.
    18. Chenyang Xu & Klaas van’t Veld, 2020. "Team Inspection in the Management of Common-Pool Resources When Corruption is Present," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 75(3), pages 553-584, March.
    19. Hai Zhong, 2018. "Measuring Corruption in China: An Expenditure‐based Approach Using Household Survey Data," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 85(338), pages 383-405, April.
    20. Dean Yang, 2005. "Integrity for Hire: An Analysis of a Widespread Program for Combating Customs Corruption," Working Papers 525, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption

    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:11753. 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: https://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 bibliographic 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.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    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.