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Corruption: Political Determinants and Macroeconomic Effects

  • Christian R. Ahlin

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Vanderbilt Unversity)

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    Two aspects of corruption are examined theoretically: its effect on macroeconomic variables, and its determination from the political environment. Corruption is defined in an occupational choice model as the extra fees or bribes that must be paid by some entrepreneurs. Even in an environment of perfect information and well-defined property rights, wages and total output decrease with the level of corruption. Inverted-U relationships of income inequality with both corruption and output are calculated. Second, two types of decentralization, regional and bureaucratic, are analyzed. The effects depend crucially on agents' mobility across regions. Under imperfect mobility assumptions, corruption decreases with regional decentralization and increases with bureaucratic decentralization. Two methods of controlling corruption are analyzed in this setting: democratic accountability and incentive payments. The same factor that makes bureaucratic decentralization more corrupt makes it more resistant to efforts to rein in corruption; the reverse is true for regional decentralization. This model matches emerging stylized facts relating corruption to output, inequality, and decentralization, and reinterprets findings linking bureaucratic wage levels and corruption.

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    File URL: http://www.accessecon.com/pubs/VUECON/vu01-w26.pdf
    File Function: Revised version, 2001
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by Vanderbilt University Department of Economics in its series Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers with number 0126.

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    Date of creation: Aug 2001
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    Handle: RePEc:van:wpaper:0126
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.vanderbilt.edu/econ/wparchive/index.html

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    1. Lloyd-Ellis, Huw & Bernhardt, Dan, 2000. "Enterprise, Inequality and Economic Development," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(1), pages 147-68, January.
    2. Brunetti, Aymo & Kisunko, Gregory & Weder, Beatrice, 1997. "Institutional obstacles to doing business : region-by-region results from a worldwide survey of the private sector," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1759, The World Bank.
    3. Hongyi Li & Lixin Colin Xu & Heng-fu Zou, 2000. "Corruption, Income Distribution, and Growth," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 12(2), pages 155-182, 07.
    4. William M. Landes & Richard A. Posner, 1974. "The Private Enforcement of Law," NBER Working Papers 0062, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Mookherjee, Dilip & Png, I P L, 1995. "Corruptible Law Enforcers: How Should They Be Compensated?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(428), pages 145-59, January.
    6. Roger B. Myerson, 1991. "Effectiveness of Electoral Systems for Reducing Government Corruption: A Game-Theoretic Analysis," Discussion Papers 956, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
    7. Fisman, Raymond & Gatti, Roberta, 2002. "Decentralization and corruption: evidence across countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(3), pages 325-345, March.
    8. Besley, Timothy & McLaren, John, 1993. "Taxes and Bribery: The Role of Wage Incentives," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 103(416), pages 119-41, January.
    9. Sanjeev Gupta, 1998. "Does Corruption Affect Income Inequality and Poverty?," IMF Working Papers 98/76, International Monetary Fund.
    10. Di Tella, Rafael & Schargrodsky, Ernesto, 2003. "The Role of Wages and Auditing during a Crackdown on Corruption in the City of Buenos Aires," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 46(1), pages 269-92, April.
    11. Pranab Bardhan, 1997. "Corruption and Development: A Review of Issues," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(3), pages 1320-1346, September.
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