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Corruption and mental health

Smriti Sharma, Saurabh Singhal () and Finn Tarp ()

No 296967914, Working Papers from Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department

Abstract: While there is substantial corruption in developing countries, the costs imposed by corruption on individuals and households are little understood. This study examines the relationship between exposure to local corruption and mental health, as measured by depressive symptoms. We use two large data sets - one cross-sectional and one panel - collected across rural Vietnam. After controlling for individual and regional characteristics, we find strong and consistent evidence that day-to-day petty corruption is positively associated with psychological distress. Our results are robust to a variety of specification checks. Further, we find that the relationship between corruption and mental health is stronger for women, and that there are no heterogeneous effects by poverty status. Finally, using a difference-in-difference estimation strategy, we provide suggestive evidence that a recent highly proled anti-corruption campaign had significant positive effects on mental health. Overall, our findings suggest that there may be substantial psychosocial and mental health benefits from efforts to reduce corruption and improve rural governance structures.

Keywords: Corruption; mental health; depression; Vietnam (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I3 I15 O12 D73 P3 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-dev, nep-hea and nep-sea
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