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A Search-Theoretic Model of Bureaucracy and Corruption

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  • Shouyong Shi
  • Ted Temzelides

Abstract

We analyze bureaucracy and corruption in a market with decentralized exchange and lemons. Exchange is modelled as a sequence of bilateral, random matches. Agents have private information about the quality of goods they produce and can supplement trade with socially inefficient bribes. Bureaucracy is modelled as a group of agents similar to private agents, but who enjoy centralized production and consumption. Transaction patterns between the bureaucracy and the private sector are fully endogenous. Our main finding is that centralized production and consumption in the bureaucracy also gives rise to low power incentives for the individual bureaucrats. As a result, we find conditions under which private agents bribe bureaucrats, while they do not bribe each other. An equilibrium with corruption and an equilibrium without corruption can co-exist. We discuss some welfare implications of the model.

Suggested Citation

  • Shouyong Shi & Ted Temzelides, 2003. "A Search-Theoretic Model of Bureaucracy and Corruption," Working Papers shouyong-03-02, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:tor:tecipa:shouyong-03-02
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Williamson, Steve & Wright, Randall, 1994. "Barter and Monetary Exchange under Private Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 104-123, March.
    2. Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro & Wright, Randall, 1989. "On Money as a Medium of Exchange," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 927-954, August.
    3. Thierry Verdier & Daron Acemoglu, 2000. "The Choice between Market Failures and Corruption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 194-211, March.
    4. Murphy, Kevin M & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1993. "Why Is Rent-Seeking So Costly to Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 409-414, May.
    5. Li, Yiting & Wright, Randall, 1998. "Government Transaction Policy, Media of Exchange, and Prices," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 290-313, August.
    6. Cadot, Olivier, 1987. "Corruption as a gamble," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 223-244, July.
    7. Lui, Francis T., 1986. "A dynamic model of corruption deterrence," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 215-236, November.
    8. Engineer, Merwan & Shouying Shi, 1998. "Asymmetry, imperfectly transferable utility, and the role of fiat money in improving terms of trade," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 153-183, February.
    9. Lui, Francis T, 1985. "An Equilibrium Queuing Model of Bribery," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(4), pages 760-781, August.
    10. George A. Akerlof, 1970. "The Market for "Lemons": Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(3), pages 488-500.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Bureaucracy; Corruption; Search; Private Information.;

    JEL classification:

    • C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • H00 - Public Economics - - General - - - General

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