Seeds of Corruption: Do Market Institutions Matter?
World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 2368
40 Pages Posted: 21 Jun 2000
Date Written: June 2000
Economists in the field of industrial organization, antitrust, and regulation have long recognized certain factors as potent determinants of opportunistic behavior, corruption, and "capture" of government officials. Only now are these relationships becoming conventional wisdom among specialists in economies in transition.
Ten years into the transition, corruption is so pervasive that it could jeopardize the best-intentioned reform efforts. Broadman and Recanatini present an analytical framework for examining the role market institutions play in rent-seeking and illicit behavior. Using recently available data on the incidence of corruption and on institutional development, they provide preliminary evidence on the link between the development of market institutions and incentives for corruption.
Virtually all of the indicators they examine appear to be important, but three are statistically significant:
· The intensity of barriers to the entry of new business.
· The effectiveness of the legal system.
· The efficacy and competitiveness of services provided by infrastructure monopolies.
The main lesson emerging from their analysis: a well established system of market institutions - clear and transparent rules, fully functioning checks and balances (including strong enforcement mechanisms), and a robust competitive environment - reduces opportunities for rent-seeking and hence incentives for corruption.
Both the design and effective implementation of such measures are important if a market system is to be effective. It is not enough, for example, to enact first-rate laws if they are not enforced.
The local political economy greatly affects whether a given policy reform will curtail corruption. Especially important are the following factors in the political economy:
· The credibility of the government's commitment to carrying out announced reforms.
· The degree to which government officials are captured by the entities they regulate or oversee.
· The stability of the government itself.
· The political power of entrenched vested interests.
Economists in the field of industrial organization, antitrust, and regulation have long recognized these factors as potent determinants of opportunistic behavior, corruption, and "capture" of government officials. Only now are they becoming conventional wisdom among specialists in economies in transition.
This paper - a product of the Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Sector Unit, Europe and Central Asia Region - is part of a larger effort in the region to analyze the determinants of corruption and develop remedies. The authors may be contacted at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
JEL Classification: K42, P30, O17, L51, G30
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation