Corruption and Government Size: A Disaggregated Analysis
Posted: 29 Mar 2016 Last revised: 5 Apr 2016
Date Written: 1998
Using annual state-level data over 1983-87, this paper examines the effect of government size on corruption by public officials by including both demand and supply side incentives for engaging in corrupt practices. The authors' objectives are twofold. First, they assess the relationship between the incidence of corruption and overall measures of the size of the federal government and the state-local sector in each state. Second, the authors explore what kinds of government activities are more likely to be successful in deterring abuse of public office. Their results are generally supportive of Becker's 'crime and punishment' model. Regarding the primary focus of the paper, the authors' results show that government size, in particular spending by state governments, does indeed have a strong positive influence on corruption.
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