Greed, Corruption, and the Modern State

Greed, Corruption, and the Modern State

Essays in Political Economy

Edited by Susan Rose-Ackerman and Paul Lagunes

What makes the control of corruption so difficult and contested? Drawing on the insights of political science, economics and law, the expert contributors to this book offer diverse perspectives. One group of chapters explores the nature of corruption in democracies and autocracies, and “reforms” that are mere facades. Other contributions examine corruption in infrastructure, tax collection, cross-border trade, and military procurement. Case studies from various regions – such as China, Peru, South Africa and New York City – anchor the analysis with real-world situations. The book pays particular attention to corruption involving international business and the domestic regulation of foreign bribery.

Chapter 11: Bribing abroad

Dimitris Batzilis

Subjects: economics and finance, economic crime and corruption, law - academic, corruption and economic crime, politics and public policy, public policy


The prevalence of corruption varies widely across countries, and the causes of this variation have been the subject of extensive research. Corruption has been connected to a variety of institutional and cultural factors that are usually difficult to disentangle. To isolate the cultural component of corruption, researchers have provided evidence that cultural norms persist even when individuals, or their families, move to a society with different formal institutions. Fisman and Miguel (2007) find that UN diplomats from more corrupt countries were more likely to take advantage of their diplomatic immunity, and leave parking tickets unpaid in the city of New York. Barr and Serra (2010) find that international college students’ willingness to bribe when playing a game in a lab setting depends on the level of corruption at their home country, while Cameron et al. (2009) find mixed results. Simpser (2013) documents that individuals whose ancestors came to the United States from high corruption countries are less likely to consider it ‘wrong for a public official to solicit bribes in return for a service’. Similarly, the evidence suggests that companies from corrupt countries tend to bribe more often even when they operate abroad. The major source of information on the behavior of firms that invest or trade abroad is the Bribe Payers Index (Transparency International, 1999–2011), which is based on local businessmen’s evaluation of the corporate conduct of foreign firms in their country.

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