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Deconstructing Corruption

Vani Borooah ()

Journal of South Asian Development, 2016, vol. 11, issue 1, 1-37

Abstract: This article employs a unique set of data to paint a quantitative picture of the nature of corruption in rural India by computing the proportion of approaches to various officials that resulted in a bribe, thus providing a ranking of officials by ‘corruption rate’; examining the size of the bribe associated with the different reasons for approaching officials; showing that in the case of officials who received approaches for a variety of purposes, the same official could charge a different bribe depending on the nature of the work to be done; testing whether corruption in India has increased over time and finally, by using the method of inequality decomposition, analyzing the extent to which observed inequality in the bribes paid by different households could be due to the facts that (i) different households paid differently for the same purpose and (ii) different purposes required bribes of different amounts, with each household paying the same amount for a particular purpose. The article shows that of the occasions on which households approached officials for getting their work done, 18 per cent resulted in a bribe, averaging `147, being paid. Not only that, every area of interaction between citizens and officials to get some work done resulted in someone, somewhere having to pay a bribe. Even the provision of basic facilities, such as drinking water and sanitation, was not exempted. Compounding this, we find systematic evidence that corruption in India has increased in the past 15 years. The existence of corruption is overlaid with a degree of inequality: The size of the bribe varied depending upon the official approached and the purpose of the approach.

Keywords: Bribes; Favours; India; Villages (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016
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