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Federalism, decentralisation and corruption

  • Freille, Sebastian
  • Haque, Mohammad Emranul
  • Kneller, Richard Anthony

We investigate the empirical relationship between decentralisation and corruption. Using a newly assembled dataset containing data for up to 174 countries, we revisit the empirical evidence and seek to explain some of the inconsistent results that exist in the literature. We find that not only results differ due to the use of different specifications and data but more importantly because previous research overlooks the relationship between different dimensions of decentralisation. We propose an approach aimed at exploring the aggregate effect of decentralization on corruption. In this context, we analyze the existence of direct and indirect effects of these aspects on corruption. Our results suggest that fiscal (market) decentralisation is associated with lower corruption. However, we also find that constitutional decentralisation (federalism) is associated with higher corruption. Furthermore, we find that certain forms of political decentralisation worsen the positive effect of constitutional centralization on corruption. Finally, other forms of decentralisation such as spatial decentralisation do not appear to have a strong association with corruption. Our results suggest the possibility that previous empirical work may grossly overestimate de aggregate impact of decentralization and corruption.

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File URL: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/27535/1/MPRA_paper_27535.pdf
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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 27535.

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Date of creation: Jun 2007
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:27535
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  1. Dilip Mookherjee & Pranab K. Bardhan, 2000. "Capture and Governance at Local and National Levels," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 135-139, May.
  2. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini & Francesco Trebbi, 2003. "Electoral Rules and Corruption," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(4), pages 958-989, 06.
  3. Charles M. Tiebout, 1956. "A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64, pages 416.
  4. Chowdhury, Shyamal K., 2004. "The effect of democracy and press freedom on corruption: an empirical test," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 85(1), pages 93-101, October.
  5. International Monetary Fund, 2001. "Fiscal Decentralization and Governance: A Cross-Country Analysis," IMF Working Papers 01/71, International Monetary Fund.
  6. Ruben Enikolopov & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2004. "Decentralization and Political Institutions," Economics Working Papers 0045, Institute for Advanced Study, School of Social Science.
  7. Danila Serra, 2005. "Empirical determinants of corruption: A sensitivity analysis," Economics Series Working Papers GPRG-WPS-012, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  8. Fisman, Raymond & Gatti, Roberta, 2000. "Decentralization and corruption - evidence across countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2290, The World Bank.
  9. Treisman, Daniel, 2000. "The causes of corruption: a cross-national study," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 399-457, June.
  10. Brunetti, Aymo & Weder, Beatrice, 2003. "A free press is bad news for corruption," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(7-8), pages 1801-1824, August.
  11. Ari Kuncoro, 2004. "Bribery in Indonesia: some evidence from micro-level data," Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(3), pages 329-354.
  12. Ebel, Robert D. & Yilmaz, Serdar, 2002. "On the measurement and impact of fiscal decentralization," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2809, The World Bank.
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