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Developing rotten institutions

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  • Morgan Kelly

Abstract

This paper models corruption as optimal parasitism in organizations where teams of agents are weakly restrained by principals. Each agent takes on part of the role of principal, choosing how much to invest in policing to repress corruption in others and how rapaciously to act when unpoliced opportunities arise. This simple model incorporates most of the factors stressed in empirical analyses of corruption, and gives rise to a wide variety of equilibria. Allow income to co-evolve with corruption, we show how adding corruption to a textbook exogenous growth model leads to a Lucas paradox. When income and corruption affect each other suffciently strongly, economies converge to two corner equilibria despite diminishing returns to capital: a rich, clean corner and a poor, corrupt one; a pattern that appears to characterize international data. This paper is part of the International Trade and Investment Programme of the Geary Institute at UCD.

Suggested Citation

  • Morgan Kelly, 2005. "Developing rotten institutions," Working Papers 200513, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucn:wpaper:200513
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/949
    File Function: First version, 2005
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    Keywords

    Corruption--Mathematical models; Economic development; Organizational behavior;

    JEL classification:

    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General

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