176 research outputs found

    Ethnic Divisions and the Size of the Informal Sector.

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    This paper investigates the relationship between ethnic fragmentation and the size of the informal economy. Recent experimental and empirical research links, in turn, ethnicity and trust, and trust and tax compliance. In addition, recent empirical studies have identified an unwillingness to contribute to public goods benefiting other ethnic groups. Combining these insights, we argue that increasing ethnic fractionalization decreases voluntary tax compliance, and present empirical evidence at the macro level in a cross-section of more than fifty countries, that more ethnically fragmented societies have significantly larger informal sectors.informal sector; ethnic fragmentation; voluntary tax compliance

    Political Accountability and the Size of Government: Theory and Cross-Country Evidence.

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    This paper explores the effect of political accountability on the size of the public sector in a principal-agent model of democratic government. Political accountability is the degree to which the electorate can control politicians through elections, and emphasis is put on the roles of transparency and political contestability. Increasing transparency and political contestability increases the control of politicians, which makes public goods provision more attractive to voters, increasing the size of government. The prediction of the model is strongly supported by robust empirical evidence from a cross section of 62 democratic countries in 1995.

    Inequality and Corruption: Evidence from US States

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    High-quality data on state-level inequality and incomes, panel data on corruption convictions, and careful attention to the consequences of including or excluding fixed effects in the panel specification allow us to estimate the impact of income considerations on the decision to undertake corrupt acts. Following efficiency wage arguments, for a given institutional environment the corruptible employee’s or official’s decision to engage in corruption is affected by relative wages and expected tenure in the public sector, the probability of detection, the cost of fines and jail terms, and the degree of inequality, which indicate diminished prospects facing those convicted of corruption. In US states over 25 years we show that inequality and higher government relative wages significantly and robustly produce less corruption. This reverses other findings of a positive association between inequality and corruption, which we show arises from long-run joint causation by unobserved factors.corruption; rent seeking; inequality; Gini coefficient; efficiency wage; public sector wages

    Political and Judicial Checks on Corruption: Evidence from American State Governments

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    The paper investigates the effects of checks and balances on corruption. Within a presidential system, effective separation of powers is achieved under divided government, with the executive and legislative branches being controlled by different political parties. When government is unified, no effective separation exists even within a presidential system, but, we argue, can be partially restored by having an accountable judiciary. Our empirical findings show that divided government and elected, rather than appointed, state supreme court judges are associated with lower corruption and, furthermore, that the effect of an accountable judiciary is stronger under unified government, where government cannot control itself. The effect of an accountable judiciary seems to be driven primarily by judges chosen through direct elections, rather than those exposed to a retention vote following appointment.separation of powers; corruption; rent seeking; checks and balances; political institutions; judicial independence; rule of law

    Enforcement and Public Corruption: Evidence from US States

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    We use high-quality panel data on corruption convictions, new panels of assistant U.S. attorneys and relative public sector wages, and careful attention to the consequences of modeling endogeneity to estimate the impact of prosecutorial resources on criminal convictions of those who undertake corrupt acts. Consistent with “system capacity” arguments, we find that greater prosecutor resources result in more convictions for corruption, other things equal. We find more limited, recent evidence for the deterrent effect of increased prosecutions. We control for and confirm in a panel context the effects of many previously identified correlates and causes of corruption. By explicitly determining the allocation of prosecutorial resources endogenously from past corruption convictions and political considerations, we show that this specification leads to larger estimates of the effect of resources on convictions. The results are robust to various ways of measuring the number of convictions as well as to various estimators.corruption; rent seeking; enforcement; efficiency wage; public sector wages; system capacity

    Fiscal Transparency, Gubernatorial Popularity, and the Scale of Government: Evidence from the States.

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    We explore the effect of transparency of fiscal institutions on the scale of government and gubernatorial popularity using a formal model of accountability. We construct an index of fiscal transparency for the American states from detailed budgetary information. With cross-section data for 1986-1995, we find that - on average and controlling for other influential factors - fiscal transparency increases both the scale of government and gubernatorial popularity. The results, subjected to extensive robustness checks, imply that more transparent budget institutions induce greater effort by politicians, to which voters give higher job approval, on average. Voters also respond by entrusting greater resources to politicians where insittutions are more transparent, leading to larger size of government.