On the (In)Effectiveness of Some Commonly Proposed Anti-Corruption Reforms
Using a theoretical model of two-candidate political competition under probabilistic voting, I study the effectiveness of the following anti-corruption reforms: (i) higher wages for politicians, (ii) higher penalties for political corruption, and (iii) constitutional constraints on the tax rates and the public good levels. In the setup I study, the competing candidates may differ in their popularity, (non-verifiable) ability, and corruptibility. I find that the reforms are more likely to be effective when the candidates are (almost) identical. When the candidates differ significantly from each other, each reform may increase equilibrium level of corruption or reduce voters' welfare.
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