Economics at your fingertips  

When bribery helps the poor

Philip Nel

Review of Social Economy, 2020, vol. 78, issue 4, 507-531

Abstract: The debate about the effect of corruption on income distribution suffers from a number of problems. The main issues are the use of perception-based measures of corruption, which implicitly favours one side of the debate, and a too narrow conception of agency involved in corruption. By relying on direct and grained evidence of bribery in 106 industrialised and industrialising states, and by appreciating the role of agency on the part of bribers, this article finds support for an emerging view that the effect of corruption on inequality is conditional. Under poor institutional conditions, entrepreneurial-related bribery is associated with an increase in the relative income share of the poorest 40%, mitigating disposable income inequality. The results are robust to the use of different income-distribution measures and data sources, as well as different specifications. While wide-spread bribery and corruption in general may be detrimental to longer term socio-economic progress, it is important not to ignore the incentives and constraints that lead people to use bribery as a means of survival.

Date: 2020
References: Add references at CitEc
Citations: Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link) (text/html)
Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link:

Ordering information: This journal article can be ordered from

DOI: 10.1080/00346764.2019.1618482

Access Statistics for this article

Review of Social Economy is currently edited by Wilfred Dolfsma and John Davis

More articles in Review of Social Economy from Taylor & Francis Journals
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Chris Longhurst ().

Page updated 2020-12-10
Handle: RePEc:taf:rsocec:v:78:y:2020:i:4:p:507-531