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Are corruption and taxation really harmful to growth? - firm-level evidence

  • Fisman, Raymond
  • Svensson, Jakob

Exploiting a unique data set containing information about the estimated bribe payments of Ugandan firms, the authors study the relationship between bribe payments, taxes, and firm growth in Uganda for the period 1995-97. Using industry-location averages to circumvent the potential problem of endogeneity, and to deal with issues of measurement error, they find that both the rate of taxation, and the rate of bribery are negatively correlated with firm growth. For the full data set, a one percentage point increase in the bribery rate is associated with three percentage point reduction in firm growth - an effect about three times that of taxation. Moreover, after excluding outliers, the authors find that bribery has a much greater negative impact on growth, and taxation a considerably smaller one. This provides some validation of firm-level theories of corruption, which posit that corruption retards development, even more than taxation does.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 2485.

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Date of creation: 30 Nov 2000
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2485
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  1. Jakob Svensson, 2003. "Who Must Pay Bribes And How Much? Evidence From A Cross Section Of Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(1), pages 207-230, February.
  2. Banerjee, A.V., 1997. "A Theory of Misgovernance," Working papers 97-4, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  3. Jakob Svensson, 2005. "Eight Questions about Corruption," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(3), pages 19-42, Summer.
  4. Mauro, Paolo, 1995. "Corruption and Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 681-712, August.
  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. "Why is Corruption So Much More Taxing Than Tax? Arbitrariness Kills," NBER Working Papers 6255, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Joshua Angrist & Alan B. Krueger, 2001. "Instrumental Variables and the Search for Identification: From Supply and Demand to Natural Experiments," NBER Working Papers 8456, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Murphy, Kevin M & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1991. "The Allocation of Talent: Implications for Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(2), pages 503-30, May.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Reinikka, Ritva & Svensson, Jakob, 1999. "Confronting competition - investment response and constraints in Uganda," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2242, The World Bank.
  12. Banerjee, Abhijit V, 1997. "A Theory of Misgovernance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1289-1332, November.
  13. Pranab Bardhan, 1997. "Corruption and Development: A Review of Issues," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(3), pages 1320-1346, September.
  14. 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.
  15. Simon Johnson & Daniel Kaufman & Andrei Shleifer, 1997. "The Unofficial Economy in Transition," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 28(2), pages 159-240.
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