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Speed Money: Time, Corruption, and Trade

  • Shepherd, Ben

This paper shows that longer trade times are associated with higher levels of trade-related corruption, consistent with a theoretical framework in which “fast” producers earn higher profits than “slow” ones, but may have to pay “speed money” to possibly corrupt customs officials. This finding is robust to the use of corruption measures based on perceptions and reported behavior, the inclusion of a wide range of control variables from the previous literature, and estimation by a variety of methods including instrumental variables. Moreover, results from a gravity model show that the combination of slow border procedures and rampant corruption acts as a significant drag on international trade, in line with the model's predictions: the elasticity of bilateral trade with respect to trade time is around 5% stronger in a country with rampant corruption compared with a corruption free country. Together, these results suggest that improved trade facilitation can be an effective and feasible policy for reducing corruption over the short-term in weak institutional environments.

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File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/17337/1/MPRA_paper_17337.pdf
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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 17337.

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Date of creation: 16 Sep 2009
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:17337
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  1. Hiau Looi Kee & Nicita, Alessandro & Olarreaga, Marcelo, 2004. "Import demand elasticities and trade distortions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3452, The World Bank.
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  16. Daniel Kaufmann & Shang-Jin Wei, 2000. "Does 'Grease Money' Speed Up the Wheels of Commerce?," IMF Working Papers 00/64, International Monetary Fund.
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  18. Paolo Mauro, 1995. "Corruption and Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(3), pages 681-712.
  19. Sequeira, Sandra & Djankov, Simeon, 2010. "An Empirical Study of Corruption in Ports," MPRA Paper 21791, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  20. Treisman, Daniel, 2000. "The causes of corruption: a cross-national study," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 399-457, June.
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  25. Lui, Francis T, 1985. "An Equilibrium Queuing Model of Bribery," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(4), pages 760-81, August.
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