Transparency and Corruption: Evidence from India

Posted: 11 Apr 2011

See all articles by Leonid V. Peisakhin

Leonid V. Peisakhin

Juan March Institute for Study and Research

Date Written: March 1, 2011

Abstract

Theories of corruption suggest that higher levels of transparency must be associated with lower levels of corruption. Yet in highly hierarchical societies where the gulf between government officials and the most underprivileged members of society is very wide, this relationship may not hold. In this paper, I set out to test the link between transparency and corruption by means of a field experiment. I ask how effective recourse to a freedom of information law is in comparison to bribery for both slum dwellers and middle class applicants in India. I demonstrate that applicants for public services who make use of the freedom of information law attain almost the same results as those who bribe. In addition, recourse to a freedom of information law comes close to erasing class differences; that is, it results in comparable processing times for slum dwellers and middle class individuals.

Keywords: Transparency, Corruption, Public Services, India, Experiment

JEL Classification: C93, D63, D89, H41, H53, K42

Suggested Citation

Peisakhin, Leonid V., Transparency and Corruption: Evidence from India (March 1, 2011). Journal of Law and Economics, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1805994

Leonid V. Peisakhin (Contact Author)

Juan March Institute for Study and Research ( email )

77 Castello Street
Madrid, E-28006
Spain

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