NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Corruption in America

Edward L. Glaeser, Raven Saks

NBER Working Paper No. 10821
Issued in October 2004
NBER Program(s):   EFG   LE

We use a data set of federal corruption convictions in the U.S. to investigate the causes and consequences of corruption. More educated states, and to a less degree richer states, have less corruption. This relationship holds even when we use historical factors like education in 1928 or Congregationalism in 1890, as instruments for the level of schooling today. The level of corruption is weakly correlated with the level of income inequality and racial fractionalization, and uncorrelated with the size of government. There is a weak negative relationship between corruption and employment and income growth. These results echo the cross-country findings, and support the view that the correlation between development and good political outcomes occurs because more education improves political institutions.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w10821

Published: Glaeser, Edward L. and Raven E. Saks. "Corruption In America," Journal of Public Economics, 2006, v90(6-7,Aug), 1053-1072.

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