Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Corruption vs reforms: Why do voters prefer the former?

Fedotenkov, Igor (2018): Corruption vs reforms: Why do voters prefer the former?

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Abstract

In this paper, we address the question of why voters tolerate corrupt politicians. Standard economic techniques such as expected utility maximization under uncertainty are employed. We show that a corrupt politician is less likely to institute reforms which can cause short-term losses for voters during a transitional period or lead with some probability to non-success. Voters' higher risk aversion causes an increased fear of reforms and higher tolerance for corruption. We also show that during an economic crisis the corruptionists' optimal strategy is not to institute reforms, as models with honest politicians predict, but to reduce the level of corruption. Using panel data techniques, we show that such a strategy is in line with the empirical CIS data; however, it follows with a short delay.

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