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Convicting corrupt officials
Evidence from randomly assigned cases
Sebastian Axbard
Discussant: Anna Tompsett, Stockholm Uni...
Corruption, politics and economic activity
Protests against Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak
Picture credit: Saw Siow ...
Helping us interpret the monitoring literature?
When is monitoring effective in reducing corruption?
• Road projects
• gove...
Alternative mechanisms
Random assignment to judge literature focuses largely on outcomes
for individuals. Here, so far: on...
Empirics
• Conviction rate very low (range 10-20%): how do we think
about decisions to prosecute? LATE?
• No relation in O...
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Comments on "Convicting corrupt officials: Evidence from randomly assigned cases"

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Comments by Anna Tompsett on paper "Convicting corrupt officials: Evidence from randomly assigned cases" presented by Sebastian Axbard at the SITE Corruption Conference, 31 August 2015.

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Comments on "Convicting corrupt officials: Evidence from randomly assigned cases"

  1. 1. Convicting corrupt officials Evidence from randomly assigned cases Sebastian Axbard Discussant: Anna Tompsett, Stockholm University September 1, 2015 Anna Tompsett Discussion: Convicting corrupt officials
  2. 2. Corruption, politics and economic activity Protests against Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak Picture credit: Saw Siow Feng, Malay Mail Online Anna Tompsett Discussion: Convicting corrupt officials
  3. 3. Helping us interpret the monitoring literature? When is monitoring effective in reducing corruption? • Road projects • government audits yes, community monitoring no (Olken 2007) • Health care providers • community monitoring yes (Björkman and Svensson 2009) • top-down monitoring yes (Tella and Schargrodsky 2003) • Politicians • public audits yes (Ferraz and Finan 2008) • Teachers • digital cameras yes (Duflo, Hanna, and Ryan 2012) • community monitoring no (Banerjee, Banerji, Duflo, Glennerster, and Khemani 2010) Anna Tompsett Discussion: Convicting corrupt officials
  4. 4. Alternative mechanisms Random assignment to judge literature focuses largely on outcomes for individuals. Here, so far: on municipalities. • So far: replacement effects and information effects • i.e. my prior that you are corrupt; my prior that I will be punished for corruption • What effect does corruption have on both real and reported rates of income? • “efficient” vs “inefficient” corruption? • overpayments à la Tella and Schargrodsky (2003) • projects halted after corruption discovery e.g. 1MDB • over or underreporting of payments • Bottom line: disaggregated results? Qualitative descriptions? Anna Tompsett Discussion: Convicting corrupt officials
  5. 5. Empirics • Conviction rate very low (range 10-20%): how do we think about decisions to prosecute? LATE? • No relation in OLS: richer municipalities more successful at gaining conviction, or less likely to prosecute political cases? • Exploit time variation in panel data e.g. instrument for CONcdt|PROScdt with PROScdt × zcdt|PROScdt • If we believe this reduces corruption: can we treat conviction of a corrupt official as proxy for reduced corruption overall? • Potential issues with instrument (Mueller-Smith 2015) • omitted treatment bias: is exoneration the only alternative to conviction? • failure of monotonicity from heterogeneity of judge behaviour as a function of defendant/offense characteristics Anna Tompsett Discussion: Convicting corrupt officials

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