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Uncertainty, Entrepreneurship and the Organisation of Corruption

Keith Blackburn and Yuanyuan Wang

Centre for Growth and Business Cycle Research Discussion Paper Series from Economics, The University of Manchester

Abstract: We develop a model of occupational choice in which private agents have the option of either working in some costless, but low-yielding, activity (subsistence production), or undertaking a costly, but potentially more rewarding, venture (entrepreneurship). In the case of the latter, loans must be acquired from ?nancial intermediaries and licenses must be obtained from public officials. Associated with these tasks are two potential sources of imperfection - an imperfection in fi?nancial markets due to asymmetric information and an imperfection in governance due to rent-seeking. Rent-seeking is risky because of a random probability that it will be detected and punished. Against this background, we show how corruption has di¤erent effects depending on the way that it is practised: in the case of disorganised corruption, bribe payments are uncertain and capital market imperfections are allowed to surface; in the case of organised corruption both of these features are removed. The implication is that, in terms of deterring entrepreneurial activity, organised corruption is likely to be the lesser of the two evils, even if bribe demands are higher in this case. This result may be used to explain the puzzle of why corruption appears to be much less damaging in some countries than in others.

Pages: 31 pages
Date: 2009
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