NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Education and the Quality of Government

Juan Botero, Alejandro Ponce, Andrei Shleifer

NBER Working Paper No. 18119
Issued in June 2012
NBER Program(s):   PE   POL

Generally speaking, better educated countries have better governments, an empirical regularity that holds in both dictatorships and democracies. We suggest that a possible reason for this fact is that educated people are more likely to complain about misconduct by government officials, so that, even when each complaint is unlikely to succeed, more frequent complaints encourage better behavior from officials. Newly assembled individual-level survey data from the World Justice Project show that, within countries, better educated people are more likely to report official misconduct. The results are confirmed using other survey data on reporting crime and corruption. Citizen complaints might thus be an operative mechanism that explains the link between education and the quality of government.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w18119

Published: Juan Botero, Alejandro Ponce, and Andrei Shleifer Journal of Law and Economics Vol. 56, No. 4 (November 2013), pp. 959-996 Published by: The University of Chicago Press

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