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Are larger countries really more corrupt?

Author

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  • Knack, Stephen
  • Azfar, Omar

Abstract

Several authors claim to provide evidence that government corruption is less severe in small than in large countries. The authors demonstrate that this relationship is an artifact of sample selection. Most corruption indicators provide ratings only for the countries in which multi-national investors have the greatest interest. These tend to include almost all large nations but, among small nations, only those that are well governed. The authors find that the relationship between corruption and country size disappears when one uses either a new corruption indicator with substantially increased country coverage or an alternative corruption indicator that covers all World Bank borrowers without regard to country size. They also show that the relationship between corruption and trade intensity--a variable strongly related to population--disappears when samples less subject to selection bias are used.

Suggested Citation

  • Knack, Stephen & Azfar, Omar, 2000. "Are larger countries really more corrupt?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2470, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2470
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Alberto Alesina & Enrico Spolaore, 1997. "On the Number and Size of Nations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1027-1056.
    2. Enrico Spolaore & Alberto Alesina & Romain Wacziarg, 2000. "Economic Integration and Political Disintegration," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1276-1296, December.
    3. Easterly, William & Kraay, Aart, 2000. "Small States, Small Problems? Income, Growth, and Volatility in Small States," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 28(11), pages 2013-2027, November.
    4. Stephen Knack & Philip Keefer, 1995. "Institutions And Economic Performance: Cross-Country Tests Using Alternative Institutional Measures," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(3), pages 207-227, November.
    5. David H. Romer & Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1999. "Does Trade Cause Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 379-399, June.
    6. Fisman, Raymond & Gatti, Roberta, 2002. "Decentralization and corruption: evidence across countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(3), pages 325-345, March.
    7. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output Per Worker than Others?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(1), pages 83-116.
    8. Rafael Di Tella & Alberto Ades, 1999. "Rents, Competition, and Corruption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 982-993, September.
    9. Alesina, Alberto & Wacziarg, Romain, 1999. "Is Europe going too far?," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 1-42, December.
    10. Kaufmann, Daniel & Kraay, Aart & Zoido-Lobaton, Pablo, 1999. "Aggregating governance indicators," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2195, The World Bank.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Kaufmann, Daniel & Kraay, Aart & Zoido-Lobaton, Pablo, 2002. "Governance matters II - updated indicators for 2000-01," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2772, The World Bank.
    2. Nicholas Charron & José Fernández-Albertos & Victor Lapuente, 2012. "Small is Different Size, Political Representation and Governance," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper1220, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
    3. Danila Serra, 2006. "Empirical determinants of corruption: A sensitivity analysis," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 126(1), pages 225-256, January.

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