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Corruption and productivity : firm-level evidence from the BEEPS survey

  • De Rosa, Donato
  • Gooroochurn, Nishaal
  • Gorg, Holger

Using enterprise data for the economies of Central and Eastern Europe and the CIS, this study examines the effects of corruption on productivity. Corruption is narrowly defined as the occurrence of informal payments to government officials to ease the day-to-day operation of firms. The effects of this"bribe tax"on productivity are compared to the consequences of red tape, which may be understood as imposing a"time tax"on firms. When testing effects in the full sample, only the bribe tax appears to have a negative impact on firm-level productivity, while the effect of the time tax is insignificant. At the same time, unlike similar studies using country-level data, firm level analysis allows a direct test of the"efficient grease"hypothesis by investigating whether corruption may increase productivity by helping reduce the time tax on firms. Results provide no evidence of a trade-off between the time and the bribe taxes, implying that bribing does not emerge as a second-best option to achieve higher productivity by helping circumvent cumbersome bureaucratic requirements. When controlling for EU membership the effects of the bribe tax are more harmful in non-EU countries. This suggests that the surrounding environment influences the way in which firm behaviour affects firm performance. In particular, in countries where corruption is more prevalent and the legal framework is weaker, bribery is more harmful for firm-level productivity.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5348.

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Date of creation: 01 Jun 2010
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5348
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  1. Jakob Klette & Samuel Kortum, 2002. "Innovating firms and aggregate innovation," Staff Report 300, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  2. Nicoletti, Giuseppe & Ardagna, Silvia & Alesina, Alberto & Schiantarelli, Fabio, 2005. "Regulation and Investment," Scholarly Articles 2579825, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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  4. Toke S. Aidt & Jayasri Dutta, 2008. "Policy Compromises: Corruption And Regulation In A Democracy," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(3), pages 335-360, November.
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  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. Fisman, Raymond & Svensson, Jakob, 2000. "Are corruption and taxation really harmful to growth? - firm-level evidence," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2485, The World Bank.
  11. Brunetti, Aymo & Weder, Beatrice, 2003. "A free press is bad news for corruption," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(7-8), pages 1801-1824, August.
  12. Paldam, Martin, 2002. "The cross-country pattern of corruption: economics, culture and the seesaw dynamics," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 215-240, June.
  13. Girma, Sourafel & Görg, Holger, 2006. "Multinationals' Productivity Advantage: Scale or Technology," CEPR Discussion Papers 5841, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Egger, Peter & Winner, Hannes, 2005. "Evidence on corruption as an incentive for foreign direct investment," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 932-952, December.
  15. Rafael Di Tella & Alberto Ades, 1999. "Rents, Competition, and Corruption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 982-993, September.
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