Lecture: Corruption in Developing Countries Lecture with Dr. Zimmermann
Join the Economics Society for pizza and a lecture by Dr. Zimmermann.
Can corruption exist when it is visible and punishable? Typical policy recommendations for the fight against corruption in developing countries rely on the notion that this misuse of public office for private gain is unpopular: Officials will act honestly as long as corruption is visible and can be punished. This assumption is tested by studying how village council presidents in the Indian state of Uttarakhand allocate a highly salient public benefit: jobs funded through a national make-work scheme. The work is directly visible to constituents, and job allocations are posted on a widely known and publicly accessible government website. Researchers test whether council presidents award disproportionately large labor quotas to their own households by linking millions of public works records to election outcomes. The results suggest corruption exists and is large (about 2/3 of a typical politician’s salary) even though it is visible and punishable. Researchers test different potential explanations using a number of additional data sources and data from our own survey of local politicians, finding that the most likely reason is that corruption is “performance pay” used to attract talented candidates into office.
Tuesday, March 26 at 5:00pm to 6:00pm
Correll Hall, 218
600 S Lumpkin Street, Athens, GA 30605