Cultures of Corruption: Evidence from Diplomatic Parking Tickets

39 Pages Posted: 14 Jul 2006 Last revised: 24 Aug 2010

See all articles by Raymond J. Fisman

Raymond J. Fisman

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Boston University

Edward Miguel

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: June 2006

Abstract

Corruption is believed to be a major factor impeding economic development, but the importance of legal enforcement versus cultural norms in controlling corruption is poorly understood. To disentangle these two factors, we exploit a natural experiment, the stationing of thousands of diplomats from around the world in New York City. Diplomatic immunity means there was essentially zero legal enforcement of diplomatic parking violations, allowing us to examine the role of cultural norms alone. This generates a revealed preference measure of government officials' corruption based on real-world behavior taking place in the same setting. We find strong persistence in corruption norms: diplomats from high corruption countries (based on existing survey-based indices) have significantly more parking violations, and these differences persist over time. In a second main result, officials from countries that survey evidence indicates have less favorable popular views of the United States commit significantly more parking violations, providing non-laboratory evidence on sentiment in economic decision-making. Taken together, factors other than legal enforcement appear to be important determinants of corruption.

Suggested Citation

Fisman, Raymond and Miguel, Edward, Cultures of Corruption: Evidence from Diplomatic Parking Tickets (June 2006). NBER Working Paper No. w12312. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=910844

Raymond Fisman (Contact Author)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
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Boston University ( email )

595 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
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Edward Miguel

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics ( email )

549 Evans Hall #3880
Berkeley, CA 94720-3880
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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