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Cultures of Corruption: Evidence From Diplomatic Parking Tickets

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  • Raymond Fisman
  • Edward Miguel

Abstract

Corruption is believed to be a major factor impeding economic development, but the importance of legal enforcement versus cultural norms in controlling corruption is poorly understood. To disentangle these two factors, we exploit a natural experiment, the stationing of thousands of diplomats from around the world in New York City. Diplomatic immunity means there was essentially zero legal enforcement of diplomatic parking violations, allowing us to examine the role of cultural norms alone. This generates a revealed preference measure of government officials' corruption based on real-world behavior taking place in the same setting. We find strong persistence in corruption norms: diplomats from high corruption countries (based on existing survey-based indices) have significantly more parking violations, and these differences persist over time. In a second main result, officials from countries that survey evidence indicates have less favorable popular views of the United States commit significantly more parking violations, providing non-laboratory evidence on sentiment in economic decision-making. Taken together, factors other than legal enforcement appear to be important determinants of corruption.

Suggested Citation

  • Raymond Fisman & Edward Miguel, 2006. "Cultures of Corruption: Evidence From Diplomatic Parking Tickets," NBER Working Papers 12312, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12312
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    5. Paolo Mauro, 2004. "The Persistence of Corruption and Slow Economic Growth," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 51(1), pages 1-1.
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    7. 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.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Is Culture Useless as an Explanation for Behavior?
      by Marc F. Bellemare in Marc F. Bellemare on 2013-04-29 14:00:27

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. H Peyton Young, 2014. "The Evolution of Social Norms," Economics Series Working Papers 726, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    2. Brigitte Granville & Jaume Martorell Cruz & Martha Prevezer, 2015. "Elites, Thickets and Institutions: French Resistance versus German Adaptation to Economic Change, 1945-2015," Working Papers 63, Queen Mary, University of London, School of Business and Management, Centre for Globalisation Research.
    3. Nathan Nunn & Daniel Trefler, 2010. "The Structure of Tariffs and Long-Term Growth," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(4), pages 158-194, October.
    4. Raymond Fisman & Edward Miguel, 2007. "Corruption, Norms, and Legal Enforcement: Evidence from Diplomatic Parking Tickets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115(6), pages 1020-1048, December.
    5. Mark Gradstein & Alberto E. Chong, 2006. "Is the World Flat?: Or Do Countries Still Matter?," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 1617, Inter-American Development Bank.
    6. Oriana Bandiera & Andrea Prat & Tommaso Valletti, 2009. "Active and Passive Waste in Government Spending: Evidence from a Policy Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1278-1308, September.
    7. David Dorn & Justina Fischer & Gebhard Kirchgässner & Alfonso Sousa-Poza, 2008. "Direct democracy and life satisfaction revisited: new evidence for Switzerland," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 227-255, June.
    8. Anita K Zonebia & Arief Anshory Yusuf & Heriyaldi, 2015. "Income and Education as the determinants of Anti-Corruption Attitudes: Evidence from Indonesia," Working Papers in Economics and Development Studies (WoPEDS) 201502, Department of Economics, Padjadjaran University, revised Apr 2015.
    9. Luigi Guiso & Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales, 2010. "Civic Capital as the Missing Link," NBER Working Papers 15845, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Meir Statman, 2009. "The Cultures of Insider Trading," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 89(1), pages 51-58, May.
    11. Guido Tabellini, 2007. "The Scope of Cooperation: Norms and Incentives," Levine's Working Paper Archive 321307000000000866, David K. Levine.
    12. Pande, Rohini, 2008. "Understanding Political Corruption in Low Income Countries," Handbook of Development Economics, Elsevier.
    13. Levy, Daniel, 2007. "Price adjustment under the table: Evidence on efficiency-enhancing corruption," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 423-447, June.
    14. Karla Hoff & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 2008. "Exiting a Lawless State," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(531), pages 1474-1497, August.
    15. Hechter, Michael, 2008. "The rise and fall of normative control," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 663-676, August.
    16. Jensen, Nathan M. & Li, Quan & Rahman, Aminur, 2007. "Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard are sweeter : understanding corruption using cross-national firm-level surveys," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4413, The World Bank.
    17. repec:eee:worbus:v:52:y:2017:i:6:p:798-808 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Dharmapala, Dhammika & Hines Jr., James R., 2009. "Which countries become tax havens?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(9-10), pages 1058-1068, October.
    19. 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.
    20. Shepherd, Ben, 2009. "Speed Money: Time, Corruption, and Trade," MPRA Paper 17337, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification
    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
    • P48 - Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems - - - Political Economy; Legal Institutions; Property Rights; Natural Resources; Energy; Environment; Regional Studies

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