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Fighting corruption in Africa: do existing corruption-control levels matter?

Simplice A, Asongu (2012): Fighting corruption in Africa: do existing corruption-control levels matter? Forthcoming in:

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Purpose – Are there different determinants in the fight against corruption across African countries? Why are some countries more effective at battling corruption than others? To assess these concerns we examine the determinants of corruption-control throughout the conditional distribution of the fight against corruption using panel data from 46 African countries for the period 2002-2010.

Design/methodology/approach – The panel quantile regression technique enables us to investigate if the relationship between corruption-control and the exogenous variables differs throughout the distribution of the fight against corruption.

Findings – Results could be summarized in the following. (1) Greater economic prosperity leads to less corruption-control and the magnitude of the effect is more important in countries where the fight against corruption is high. (2) Regulation quality seems bimodal, with less positive effects in the tails: among the best and least fighters of corruption. (3) There is support for a less negative consequence of population growth in countries that are already taking the fight against corruption seriously in comparison to those that are lax on the issue. (4) Findings on democracy broadly indicate the democratization process increases the fight against corruption with a greater magnitude at higher quantiles: countries that are already taking the fight seriously. (5) The relevance of voice and accountability in the battle against corruption decreases as corruption-control is taking more seriously by the powers that be. (6) Good governance dynamics of political stability, government effectiveness and the rule of law gain more importance in the fight against corruption when existing levels of corruption-control are already high.

Social implications – Our results suggest that the determinants of corruption-control respond differently across the corruption-control distribution. This implies some current corruption-control policies may be reconsidered, especially among the most corrupt and least corrupt African nations. As a policy implication, the fight against corruption should not be postponed, doing so will only reduce the effectiveness of policies in the future. The rewards of institutional reforms are more positive in countries that are already seriously engaged in the corruption fight.

Originality/value – This paper contributes to existing literature on the determinants of corruption by focusing on the distribution of the dependent variable(control of corruption). It is likely that good and poor corruption fighters respond differently to factors that influence the fight against corruption. There are subtle institutional differences between corrupt and clean nations that may affect corruption-control determinants and government efficacy in the fight against corruption.

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