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The political economy of corruption in Brazil

Marcos Fernandes da Silva

RAE - Revista de Administração de Empresas, 1999, vol. 39, issue 3

Abstract: This article is the first part of a research on corruption in Brazil and it is theoretical. Despite this, it provides an economic interpretation of corruption using Brazil as a case study. The main objective of this research is to apply some microeconomic tools to understand the “big corruption”. However, I am going to show that corruption is not simply a kind of crime. Rather, it is an ordinary economic activity that arises in some institutional environments. Firstly, some corruption cases in Brazil will be described. This article is aimed at showing that democracy itself does not ensure control over corruption. Secondly, I am going to do a very brief survey of institutional changes and controls over corruption in some Western Societies in which I am going to argue that corruption, its control and its illegality depend on institutional evolution by streamlining the constitutional and institutional framework. Thirdly, I am going to explain how some economic models could be adopted for a better understanding of corruption. Finally, I will present a multiple-self model applied to the public agent (politician and bureaucrat) constrained by institutions and pay-off systems.

Date: 1999
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