Careers, Connections and Corruption Risks in Europe

38 Pages Posted: 8 Jan 2016

See all articles by Nicholas Charron

Nicholas Charron

University of Gothenburg

Carl Dahlström

University of Gothenburg - Department of Political Science

Mihaly Fazekas

Central European University (CEU); University of Cambridge - Faculty of Human, Social, and Political Science

Victor Lapuente

University of Gothenburg - Department of Political Science

Date Written: April 6, 2015

Abstract

Why do officials in some countries favor entrenched contractors while others assign public contracts more impartially? According to the research, such variation responds to differences in political institutions, economic development and historical preconditions. This paper instead emphasizes the interplay between politics and bureaucracy. It suggests that corruption risks are minimized when the two groups involved in decision-making on public contracts — politicians and bureaucrats — have known different interests. This is institutionalized when politicians are accountable to the electorate, while bureaucrats are accountable to their peers, and not to politicians. We test this hypothesis with a novel experience-based measure of career incentives in the public sector — utilizing a survey with over 85,000 individuals in 212 European regions — and a new objective corruption risk measure including over 1.4 million procurement contracts. Both show a remarkable sub-national variation across Europe. The study finds corruption risks significantly lower where bureaucrats' careers do not depend on political connections.

Keywords: corruption, bureaucracy, Europe

JEL Classification: D72, D73, H57

Suggested Citation

Charron, Nicholas and Dahlström, Carl and Fazekas, Mihaly and Lapuente, Victor, Careers, Connections and Corruption Risks in Europe (April 6, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2711956 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2711956

Nicholas Charron

University of Gothenburg ( email )

Göteborg, Sweden
Sweden

Carl Dahlström

University of Gothenburg - Department of Political Science ( email )

Box 711
Göteborg, S-405 30
Sweden

Mihaly Fazekas (Contact Author)

Central European University (CEU) ( email )

Nador utca 9
Budapest, H-1051
Hungary

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Human, Social, and Political Science ( email )

Cambridge, CB3 9DD
United Kingdom

Victor Lapuente

University of Gothenburg - Department of Political Science ( email )

Box 711
Göteborg, S-405 30
Sweden

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