Corruption, Governance, and Public Pension Funds
57 Pages Posted: 11 Oct 2016
Date Written: September 8, 2016
We examine the effects of state corruption as well as political and governance factors on U.S. public pension funds. We find that pension funds in states with more corruption have lower performance; a one standard deviation increase in corruption is associated with a decrease in annual returns of at least 17 basis points, and this relation is robust to state-level and pension-level fixed effects. Pensions located in more corrupt jurisdictions also invest a larger fraction of their assets in equities. We find that having a new treasurer decreases the negative effects of corruption, suggesting that more frequent changes in administrations are beneficial in corrupt jurisdictions. Governance-related variables and political affiliation variables are by themselves not significantly related to pension returns, although these variables are associated with differences in asset allocation.
Keywords: Public Pensions, Corruption, Politics, Governance
JEL Classification: G23, G28, H75
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation