IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Corruption in Developing Countries

  • Benjamin A. Olken
  • Rohini Pande

Recent years have seen a remarkable expansion in economists' ability to measure corruption. This, in turn, has led to a new generation of well-identified, microeconomic studies. We review the evidence on corruption in developing countries in light of these recent advances, focusing on three questions: how much corruption is there, what are the efficiency consequences of corruption, and what determines the level of corruption. We find robust evidence that corruption responds to standard economic incentive theory, but also that effects of anti-corruption policies often attenuate as officials find alternate strategies to pursue rents.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17398.

in new window

Date of creation: Sep 2011
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Benjamin A. Olken & Rohini Pande, 2012. "Corruption in Developing Countries," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 4(1), pages 479-509, 07.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17398
Contact details of provider: Postal:
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.

Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. 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.
  2. Gorodnichenko, Yuriy & Sabirianova Peter, Klara, 2007. "Public sector pay and corruption: Measuring bribery from micro data," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(5-6), pages 963-991, June.
  3. John McMillan & Pablo Zoido, 2004. "How to Subvert Democracy: Montesinos in Peru," CESifo Working Paper Series 1173, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Miriam Bruhn, 2011. "License to Sell: The Effect of Business Registration Reform on Entrepreneurial Activity in Mexico," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(1), pages 382-386, February.
  5. Benjamin A. Olken, 2006. "Corruption Perceptions vs. Corruption Reality," NBER Working Papers 12428, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Simeon Djankov & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2010. "Disclosure by Politicians," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 179-209, April.
  7. Robin Burgess & Matthew Hansen & Benjamin A. Olken & Peter Potapov & Stefanie Sieber, 2011. "The Political Economy of Deforestation in the Tropics," NBER Working Papers 17417, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Mara Faccio, 2006. "Politically Connected Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 369-386, March.
  9. Malesky, Edmund J. & Samphantharak, Krislert, 2008. "Predictable Corruption and Firm Investment: Evidence from a Natural Experiment and Survey of Cambodian Entrepreneurs," Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 3(3), pages 227-267, October.
  10. Esther Duflo & Rema Hanna, 2006. "Monitoring works: Getting teachers to come to school," Framed Field Experiments 00142, The Field Experiments Website.
  11. Shang-Jin Wei, 2000. "How Taxing is Corruption on International Investors?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(1), pages 1-11, February.
  12. Naci Mocan, 2004. "What Determines Corruption? International Evidence from Micro Data," NBER Working Papers 10460, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Martina Björkman & Jakob Svensson, 2010. "When Is Community-Based Monitoring Effective? Evidence from a Randomized Experiment in Primary Health in Uganda," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 8(2-3), pages 571-581, 04-05.
  14. Hunt, Jennifer, 2006. "How Corruption Hits People When They Are Down," CEPR Discussion Papers 5855, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Khwaja, Asim Ijaz, 2009. "Can good projects succeed in bad communities?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(7-8), pages 899-916, August.
  16. Fernanda Brollo & Tommaso Nannicini & Roberto Perotti & Guido Tabellini, 2010. "The Political Resource Curse," NBER Working Papers 15705, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Timothy Besley & Rohini Pande & Vijayendra Rao, 2012. "Just Rewards? Local Politics and Public Resource Allocation in South India," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 26(2), pages 191-216.
  18. 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.
  19. Karthik Muralidharan & Venkatesh Sundararaman, 2009. "Teacher Performance Pay: Experimental Evidence from India," NBER Working Papers 15323, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Francesco Caselli & Guy Michaels, 2009. "Do Oil Windfalls Improve Living Standards? Evidence from Brazil," NBER Working Papers 15550, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Paolo Mauro, 1995. "Corruption and Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(3), pages 681-712.
  22. Benjamin A. Olken & Patrick Barron, 2007. "The Simple Economics of Extortion: Evidence from Trucking in Aceh," NBER Working Papers 13145, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Ferraz, Claudio & Finan, Frederico S., 2008. "Motivating Politicians: The Impacts of Monetary Incentives on Quality and Performance," IZA Discussion Papers 3411, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  24. Ritva Reinikka & Jakob Svensson, 2005. "Fighting Corruption to Improve Schooling: Evidence from a Newspaper Campaign in Uganda," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 259-267, 04/05.
  25. Adriana Camacho & Emily Conover, 2009. "Manipulation of Social Program Eligibility: Detection, Explanations and Consequences for Empirical Research," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 006211, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
  26. Sean Lewis-Faupel & Yusuf Neggers & Benjamin A. Olken & Rohini Pande, 2014. "Can Electronic Procurement Improve Infrastructure Provision? Evidence From Public Works in India and Indonesia," NBER Working Papers 20344, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. Paul Niehaus & Sandip Sukhtankar, 2013. "Corruption Dynamics: The Golden Goose Effect," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 5(4), pages 230-69, November.
  28. Rafael Di Tella & Ernesto Schargrodsky, 2004. "Do Police Reduce Crime? Estimates Using the Allocation of Police Forces After a Terrorist Attack," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 115-133, March.
  29. Dina Pomeranz, 2013. "No Taxation without Information: Deterrence and Self-Enforcement in the Value Added Tax," NBER Working Papers 19199, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  30. Sequeira, Sandra & Djankov, Simeon, 2010. "An Empirical Study of Corruption in Ports," MPRA Paper 21791, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  31. Treisman, Daniel, 2000. "The causes of corruption: a cross-national study," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 399-457, June.
  32. 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.
  33. Banerjee, Abhijit V & Duflo, Esther, 2003. "Inequality and Growth: What Can the Data Say?," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 8(3), pages 267-99, September.
  34. Ferraz, Claudio & Finan, Frederico S., 2007. "Exposing Corrupt Politicians: The Effects of Brazil’s Publicly Released Audits on Electoral Outcomes," IZA Discussion Papers 2836, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  35. Fisman, Raymond & Svensson, Jakob, 2007. "Are corruption and taxation really harmful to growth? Firm level evidence," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 63-75, May.
  36. Kahn, Charles M & Silva, Emilson C D & Ziliak, James P, 2001. "Performance-Based Wages in Tax Collection: The Brazilian Tax Collection Reform and Its Effects," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(468), pages 188-205, January.
  37. Van Rijckeghem, Caroline & Weder, Beatrice, 2001. "Bureaucratic corruption and the rate of temptation: do wages in the civil service affect corruption, and by how much?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 307-331, August.
  38. Jakob Svensson, 2003. "Who Must Pay Bribes and How Much? Evidence from a Cross Section of Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(1), pages 207-230.
  39. Nazmul Chaudhury & Jeffrey Hammer & Michael Kremer & Karthik Muralidharan & F. Halsey Rogers, 2006. "Missing in Action: Teacher and Health Worker Absence in Developing Countries," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 91-116, Winter.
  40. 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, 02.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17398. 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: ()

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.