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Instability and the Incentives for Corruption

Filipe Campante (), Davin Chor () and Quoc-Anh Do ()

Sciences Po publications from Sciences Po

Abstract: We investigate the relationship between corruption and political stability, from both theoretical and empirical perspectives. We propose a model of incumbent behavior that features the interplay of two effects: a horizon effect, whereby greater instability leads the incumbent to embezzle more during his short window of opportunity, and a demand effect, by which the private sector is more willing to bribe stable incumbents. The horizon effect dominates at low levels of stability, because firms are unwilling to pay high bribes and unstable incumbents have strong incentives to embezzle, whereas the demand effect gains salience in more stable regimes. Together, these two effects generate a non-monotonic, U-shaped relationship between total corruption and stability. On the empirical side, we find a robust U-shaped pattern between country indices of corruption perception and various measures of incumbent stability, including historically observed average tenures of chief executives and governing parties: regimes that are very stable or very unstable display higher levels of corruption when compared with those in an intermediate range of stability. These results suggest that minimizing corruption may require an electoral system that features some re-election incentives, but with an eventual term limit.

Keywords: Political Stability; Political Corruption; Incumbency; Political Ethics; Public Sector; Private Sector; Bribery (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2009-03
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Published in Economics and Politics, 2009, vol. 21, pp.42-92

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Related works:
Journal Article: INSTABILITY AND THE INCENTIVES FOR CORRUPTION (2009) Downloads
Working Paper: Instability and the Incentives for Corruption (2009) Downloads
Working Paper: Instability and the Incentives for Corruption (2009) Downloads
Working Paper: Instability and Incentives for Corruption (2008) Downloads
Working Paper: Instability and the Incentives for Corruption (2005) Downloads
Working Paper: Instability and the Incentives for Corruption Downloads
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