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Why Are Some Public Officials More Corrupt Than Others?

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  • Jennifer Hunt

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Abstract

Using detailed Peruvian data measuring bribery, I assess which types of public official are most corrupt and why. I distinguish between the bribery rate and the size of bribes received, and seek to explain the variation in each across public institutions. The characteristics of officials??? clients explain most of the variation for bribery rates, but none for bribe amounts. A measure of the speed of honest service at the institution explains much of the remaining variation for both bribery rates and amounts. The results indicate that the bribery rate is higher at institutions with bribe-prone clients, and that bribery rates and bribe amounts are higher where clients are frustrated at slow service. Faster and better service would reduce corruption. Overall, the judiciary and the police are by far the most corrupt institutions.

Suggested Citation

  • Jennifer Hunt, 2005. "Why Are Some Public Officials More Corrupt Than Others?," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series wp790, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  • Handle: RePEc:wdi:papers:2005-790
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    References listed on IDEAS

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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, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(1), pages 207-230.
    2. Naci Mocan, 2008. "What Determines Corruption? International Evidence From Microdata," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 46(4), pages 493-510, October.
    3. Swamy, Anand & Knack, Stephen & Lee, Young & Azfar, Omar, 2001. "Gender and corruption," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 25-55, February.
    4. Hunt, Jennifer, 2004. "Trust and Bribery: The Role of the Quid Pro Quo and the Link With Crime," CEPR Discussion Papers 4567, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. John Mcmillan & Pablo Zoido, 2004. "How to Subvert Democracy: Montesinos in Peru," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(4), pages 69-92, Fall.
    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. Francisco Alvarez-Cuadrado, "undated". "A Quantitative Exploration of the Golden Age of European Growth: Structural Change, Public Investment, the Marshall Plan and Intra-European Trade," Working Papers UWEC-2004-15, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
    8. Ades, Alberto & Di Tella, Rafael, 1997. "National Champions and Corruption: Some Unpleasant Interventionist Arithmetic," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(443), pages 1023-1042, July.
    9. Borjas, George J. & Sueyoshi, Glenn T., 1994. "A two-stage estimator for probit models with structural group effects," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1-2), pages 165-182.
    10. Treisman, Daniel, 2000. "The causes of corruption: a cross-national study," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 399-457, June.
    11. Hunt, Jennifer & Laszlo, Sonia, 2005. "Bribery: Who Pays, Who Refuses, What are the Payoffs?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5251, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    12. John P. Haisken-DeNew & Christoph M. Schmidt, 2000. "Interindustry and Interregion Differentials: Mechanics and Interpretation," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(3), pages 516-521, August.
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    1. repec:eee:wdevel:v:105:y:2018:i:c:p:171-188 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Francisco Alvarez-Cuadrado, "undated". "A Quantitative Exploration of the Golden Age of European Growth: Structural Change, Public Investment, the Marshall Plan and Intra-European Trade," Working Papers UWEC-2004-15, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
    3. Hunt, Jennifer & Laszlo, Sonia, 2005. "Bribery: Who Pays, Who Refuses, What are the Payoffs?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5251, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Gorodnichenko, Yuriy & Sabirianova Peter, Klara, 2007. "Public sector pay and corruption: Measuring bribery from micro data," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(5-6), pages 963-991, June.
    5. Kaufmann, Daniel & Montoriol-Garriga, Judit & Recanatini, Francesca, 2008. "How does bribery affect public service delivery ? micro-evidence from service users and public officials in Peru," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4492, The World Bank.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Corruption; bribery; institutions; governance.;

    JEL classification:

    • H4 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods
    • K4 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development

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