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Accountability and corruption : political institutions matter

  • Lederman, Daniel
  • Loayza, Norman
  • Reis Soares, Rodrigo

Using a cross-country panel, Lederman, Loayza, and Soares examine the determinants of corruption, paying particular attention to political institutions that increase political accountability. Previous empirical studies have not analyzed the role of political institutions, even though both the political science and the theoretical economics literature have indicated their importance in determining corruption. The main theoretical hypothesis guiding the authors?empirical investigation is that political institutions affect corruption through two channels: political accountability and the structure of the provision of public goods. The results suggest that political institutions are extremely important in determining the prevalence of corruption: democracy, parliamentary systems, political stability, and freedom of the press are all associated with lower corruption. In addition, the authors show that common findings of the earlier empirical literature on the determinants of corruption?elated to openness and legal tradition?o not hold once political variables are taken into account.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 2708.

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Date of creation: 30 Nov 2001
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2708
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  1. Banerjee, Abhijit V, 1997. "A Theory of Misgovernance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1289-1332, November.
  2. Beck, Thorsten & Clarke, George & Groff, Alberto & Keefer, Philip & Walsh, Patrick, 2000. "New tools and new tests in comparative political economy - the database of political institutions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2283, The World Bank.
  3. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135.
  4. 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.
  5. Simeon Djankov & Caralee McLiesh & Tatiana Nenova & Andrei Shleifer, 2001. "Who Owns the Media?," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1919, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  6. Collier, Paul & Hoeffler, Anke, 1998. "On Economic Causes of Civil War," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(4), pages 563-73, October.
  7. Banerjee, A.V., 1997. "A Theory of Misgovernance," Working papers 97-4, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  8. Pranab Bardhan, 1997. "Corruption and Development: A Review of Issues," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(3), pages 1320-1346, September.
  9. Chong-En Bai & Shang-Jin Wei, 2000. "Quality of Bureaucracy and Open-Economy Macro Policies," NBER Working Papers 7766, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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