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Democracy and Corruption: On the Limited Role of Political Accountability in Deterring Asset Stripping

Melvin Ayogu () and Tendai Gwatidzo

Journal of African Development, 2011, vol. 13, issue 2, 223-236

Abstract: Focusing on capital flight of the worst kind for developing countries-stolen public assets-we develop a model which shows that both the threat of losing elective office and its complement, the threat of delayed detection, do not affect the choice of whether to plunder or not. Rather they mitigate the level of plundering. The role of instantaneous detection in the model drives the implication that separating a miscreant from the benefits of his crime can be an effective deterrent. However, such weaponry requires investment in the capabilities for "integrated financial investigation" and international cooperation. The ideas espoused in this paper corroborate the logic of the StAR initiative of the UNODC and the World Bank. We suggest the development of a research agenda on how to (i) grow adequate capabilities for detection, and (ii) create the political demand for the required international cooperation.

Keywords: Africa; Capital flight; Democracy; Corruption (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: F33 O55 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2011
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