NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Electoral Rules and Corruption

Torsten Persson, Guido Tabellini, Francesco Trebbi

NBER Working Paper No. 8154
Issued in March 2001
NBER Program(s):   PE

Is corruption systematically related to electoral rules? A number of studies have tried to uncover economic and social determinants of corruption but, as far as we know, nobody has yet empirically investigated how electoral systems inĂ¡uence corruption. We try to address this lacuna in the literature, by relating corruption to dierent features of the electoral system in a sample from the late nineties encompassing more than 80 (developed and developing) democracies. Our empirical results are based on traditional regression methods, as well as non-parametric estimators. The evidence is consistent with the theoretical models reviewed in the paper. Holding constant a variety of economic and social variables, we find that larger voting districts - and thus lower barriers to entry - are associated with less corruption, whereas larger shares of candidates elected from party lists - and thus less individual accountability - are associated with more corruption. Altogether, proportional elections are associated with more corruption, since voting over party lists is the dominant effect, while the district magnitude effect is less robust.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w8154

Published: Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini & Francesco Trebbi, 2003. "Electoral Rules and Corruption," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(4), pages 958-989, 06. citation courtesy of

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