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Corruption and the Hadleyburg effect



We study the dynamics of corruption relying on two fundamental observations: (a) Given agents detected as corrupt are typically fired and replaced, the historical levels of corruption have an impact on current corruption through the distribution of corruption costs of old agents; (b) Institutions negatively affected by their agents' corrupt activities are likely to respond optimally to it thereby decreasing the payoff from being corrupt. We model this situation by considering an agent who is supposed to monitor a contractor's delivery of a product or service and can manipulate his reports thus allowing the contractor to deliver lower quality in exchange for a bribe. Given the two generations of agents overlapping at any particular date, the administration sets an optimal level of quality in each period. We find that (i) A unique steady state level of corruption exists; (ii) Regardless of the initial distribution, apart from an initial period, equilibrium sequences are decreasing and converge to the steady state, a result we term the "Hadleyburg effect". We use these findings to study the dynamic response of corruption to both temporary and permanent shocks to the profitability of corruption and we find that the "Hadleyburg effect" has important positive and normative implications.

Suggested Citation

  • Marco Celentani & Juan J. Ganuza, 1999. "Corruption and the Hadleyburg effect," Economics Working Papers 382, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  • Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:382

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bisin, A. & Geanakoplos, J.D. & Gottardi, P. & Minelli, E. & Polemarchakis, H., 2011. "Markets and contracts," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 279-288.
    2. Bruno Biais & David Martimort & Jean-Charles Rochet, 2000. "Competing Mechanisms in a Common Value Environment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(4), pages 799-838, July.
    3. Pradeep Dubey & John Geanakoplos & Martin Shubik, 1988. "Default and Efficiency in a General Equilibrium Model with Incomplete Markets," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 879R, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, revised Feb 1989.
    4. Douglas Gale, 1992. "A Walrasian Theory of Markets with Adverse Selection," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 59(2), pages 229-255.
    5. Bisin, Alberto & Gottardi, Piero, 1999. "Competitive Equilibria with Asymmetric Information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 1-48, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Marco Celentani & Juan-José Ganuza, 2002. "Organized vs. Competitive Corruption," Annals of Operations Research, Springer, vol. 109(1), pages 293-315, January.
    2. Celentani, Marco & Ganuza, Juan-Jose, 2002. "Corruption and competition in procurement," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(7), pages 1273-1303, July.

    More about this item


    Corruption dynamics;

    JEL classification:

    • C73 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games
    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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