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Does"grease money"speed up the wheels of commerce?

  • Kaufman, Daniel
  • Shang-Jin Wei

If bureaucratic burden and delay are exogenous, a firm may find bribes a helpful way to cut through red tape. According to the"efficient grease"hypothesis, corruption can improve economic efficiency, and,fighting bribery can be counterproductive. This need not be the case. In a general equilibrium in which regulatory burden and delay can be endogenously chosen by rent-seeking bureaucrats, the effective (not just nominal) red tape and bribery may be positively correlated across firms. Using data from three worldwide firm-level surveys, the authors examine the relationship between bribe and payments, management time wasted with bureaucrats, and cost of capital. They find that firms that pay more in bribes are also likely to spend more, not less, management time with bureaucrats, negotiating regulations. They also face a higher, not lower, cost of capital.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 2254.

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Date of creation: 31 Dec 1999
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2254
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  1. Pranab Bardhan, 1997. "Corruption and Development: A Review of Issues," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(3), pages 1320-1346, September.
  2. Banerjee, Abhijit V, 1997. "A Theory of Misgovernance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1289-1332, November.
  3. Bliss, Christopher & Di Tella, Rafael, 1997. "Does Competition Kill Corruption?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(5), pages 1001-23, October.
  4. Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1994. "Politicians and Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(4), pages 995-1025, November.
  5. Vito Tanzi, 1998. "Corruption Around the World: Causes, Consequences, Scope, and Cures," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 45(4), pages 559-594, December.
  6. Shang-Jin Wei, 1997. "How Taxing is Corruption on International Investors?," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 63, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  7. Lui, Francis T, 1985. "An Equilibrium Queuing Model of Bribery," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(4), pages 760-81, August.
  8. Krueger, Anne O, 1974. "The Political Economy of the Rent-Seeking Society," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(3), pages 291-303, June.
  9. Banerjee, A.V., 1997. "A Theory of Misgovernance," Working papers 97-4, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  10. Ades, Alberto & Di Tella, Rafael, 1997. "National Champions and Corruption: Some Unpleasant Interventionist Arithmetic," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(443), pages 1023-42, July.
  11. Rose-Ackerman, Susan, 1975. "The economics of corruption," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 187-203, February.
  12. Shang-Jin Wei, 1997. "Why is Corruption So Much More Taxing Than Tax? Arbitrariness Kills," NBER Working Papers 6255, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Mauro, Paolo, 1995. "Corruption and Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 681-712, August.
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