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Corruption and Bureaucratic Structure in a Developing Economy

  • JOhn Bennett


  • Saul Estrin

We address the impact of corruption in a developing economy in the context of an empirically relevant hold-up problem - when a foreign firm sinks an investment to provide infrastructure services. We focus on the structure of the economy’s bureaucracy, which can be centralized or decentralized, and characterize the ‘corruptibility’ of bureaucrats in each case. Results are explained in terms of the noninternalization, under decentralization, of the ‘bribe externality’ and the ‘price externality.’ In welfare terms, decentralization is favoured, relatively speaking, if the tax system is less inefficient, funding is less tight, bureaucrats are less venal, or compensation for expropriation is ungenerous.

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Paper provided by William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan in its series William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series with number 825.

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Length: pages
Date of creation: 01 Feb 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wdi:papers:2006-825
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  1. Waller, C.J. & Verdier, T. & Gardner, R., 1999. "Corruption: Top Down or Bottom Up?," Papers 1999-12, Laval - Laboratoire Econometrie.
  2. Guasch, J. Luis & Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Straub, Stephane, 2003. "Renegotiation of concession contracts in Latin America," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3011, The World Bank.
  3. Thomas, Jonathan & Worrall, Tim, 1990. "Foreign direct investment and the risk of expropriation," Kiel Working Papers 411, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  4. Gary S. Becker & George J. Stigler, 1974. "Law Enforcement, Malfeasance, and Compensation of Enforcers," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(1), pages 1-18, January.
  5. Clive Harris, 2003. "Private Participation in Infrastructure in Developing Countries : Trends, Impacts, and Policy Lessons," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 15124, March.
  6. Choi, Jay Pil & Thum, Marcel, 2003. "The economics of repeated extortion," Dresden Discussion Paper Series in Economics 13/03, Dresden University of Technology, Faculty of Business and Economics, Department of Economics.
  7. Timothy Besley & Stephen Coate, 1999. "Centralized versus Decentralized Provision of Local Public Goods: A Political Economy Analysis," NBER Working Papers 7084, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Fisman, Raymond & Gatti, Roberta, 2002. "Decentralization and corruption: evidence across countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(3), pages 325-345, March.
  9. Lawrence H. Goulder & Ian W. H. Parry & Dallas Burtraw, 1996. "Revenue-Raising vs. Other Approaches to Environmental Protection: The Critical Significance of Pre-Existing Tax Distortions," NBER Working Papers 5641, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Mauro, Paolo, 1995. "Corruption and Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 681-712, August.
  11. 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.
  12. Ritva Reinikka & Jakob Svensson, 2004. "Local Capture: Evidence From a Central Government Transfer Program in Uganda," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(2), pages 678-704, May.
  13. Jakob Svensson, 2005. "Eight Questions about Corruption," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(3), pages 19-42, Summer.
  14. Pranab Bardhan & Dilip Mookherjee, 2000. "Corruption and Decentralization of Infrastructure Delivery in Developing Countries," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 104, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
  15. Svensson, Jakob, 2000. "Who must pay bribes and how much? Evidence from a cross-section of firms," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2486, The World Bank.
  16. Pranab Bardhan, 1997. "Corruption and Development: A Review of Issues," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(3), pages 1320-1346, September.
  17. J. Luis Guasch, 2004. "Granting and Renegotiating Infrastructure Concessions : Doing it Right," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 15024, March.
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