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Quality of Bureaucracy and Open-Economy Macro Policies

  • Chong-En Bai
  • Shang-Jin Wei

Bureaucratic quality in terms of the level of corruption varies widely across countries, and is in general slow to evolve relative to the speed with which many economic polices can be implemented such as the imposition of capital controls. In this paper, we study the possibility that quality of bureaucracy may be an important structural determinant of open-economy macro-policies, in particular, the imposition/removal of capital controls, and financial repression. We first derive a model that delivers such a result. Bureaucratic corruption translates into reduced ability by the government to collect tax revenue. Even if capital control/financial repression is otherwise inefficient, as long as the government needs the revenue for public goods provision, it would have to rely more on capital control/financial repression. For all countries for which we can obtain relevant data, we find that more corrupt countries are indeed more likely to impose capital controls, a pattern consistent with the model's prediction. The result of this paper suggests that a premature removal of capital controls mandated by outside institutions could reduce rather than enhance economic efficiency.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7766.

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Date of creation: Jun 2000
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7766
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  1. Wyplosz, Charles, 1986. "Capital controls and balance of payments crises," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 167-179, June.
  2. Ades, Alberto & Di Tella, Rafael, 1997. "National Champions and Corruption: Some Unpleasant Interventionist Arithmetic," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(443), pages 1023-42, July.
  3. Cukierman, Alex & Webb, Steven B & Neyapti, Bilin, 1992. "Measuring the Independence of Central Banks and Its Effect on Policy Outcomes," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 6(3), pages 353-98, September.
  4. Shang-Jin Wei, 1997. "How Taxing is Corruption on International Investors?," NBER Working Papers 6030, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Pranab Bardhan, 1997. "Corruption and Development: A Review of Issues," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(3), pages 1320-1346, September.
  6. Chong-En Bai & David D. Li & Yingyi Qian & Yijiang Wang, 1999. "Limiting Government Predation Through Anonymous Banking: A Theory with Evidence from China," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 275, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  7. Natalia T. Tamirisa, 1999. "Exchange and Capital Controls as Barriers to Trade," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 46(1), pages 4.
  8. Vittorio Grilli & Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti, 1995. "Economic Effects and Structural Determinants of Capital Controls," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 42(3), pages 517-551, September.
  9. Giovannini, Alberto & de Melo, Martha, 1993. "Government Revenue from Financial Repression," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 953-63, September.
  10. Rafael Di Tella & Alberto Ades, 1999. "Rents, Competition, and Corruption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 982-993, September.
  11. Natalia T. Tamirisa & R. B. Johnston, 1998. "Why Do Countries Use Capital Controls?," IMF Working Papers 98/181, International Monetary Fund.
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