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Environmental Regulations and Corruption: Automobile Emissions in Mexico City

Paulina Oliva ()

Journal of Political Economy, 2015, vol. 123, issue 3, 686 - 724

Abstract: Emission regulations become more prevalent in developing countries, but they may be compromised by corruption. This paper documents the prevalence of corruption and the effectiveness of vehicle emission regulations in Mexico City. I develop a statistical test for identifying a specific type of cheating that involves bribing center technicians. I also estimate a structural model of car owner retesting and cheating decisions. Results suggest that 9.6 percent of car owners paid US$20 to circumvent the regulation. Eliminating cheating and increasing the cost of retests would reduce emissions by 3,708 tons at a high cost for vehicle owners.

Date: 2015
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