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An influential body of scholarship argues that corruption behaves as a selffulfilling prophecy. The idea of this work is that levels of corruption emerge endogenously as a result of a society-wide coordination game in which the individual returns to corrupt behavior are a function of how disposed towards corruption the other members of society are perceived as being. An empirical implication of this logic is that if one were to exogenously perturb beliefs about societal levels of corruption upward, willingness to engage in corruption should increase as a consequence. The current paper evaluates this claim by utilizing an information experiment embedded in a large-scale household survey conducted in the Gran Área Metropolitana (GAM) of Costa Rica from October 2013 to April 2014 (n=4200). Changes in beliefs about corruption were induced via the random assignment of an informational display depicting the increasing percentage of Costa Ricans who have experienced or directly observed an act of corruption (from 2006 to 2011). The paper finds that, on average, assignment to this display (relative to the control condition) increased the probability that a respondent would be willing to pay a bribe to a police officer by approximately 0.04 to 0.08, thereby providing supporting evidence for the self-fulfilling prophecy hypothesis.
Most policy analyses and academic papers deal with finding the combination of policies that may bring about the best development outcomes. However, in the long run, it is the features of public policies that seem to matter for explaining development outcomes. Unfortunately, Latin America and the Caribbean lags behind other regions in the quality of the features of public policies. Policy feat ... (View publication)
This policy brief takes stock of the research on government capabilities undertaken at the Inter-American Development Bank, highlights the relevance of government capabilities for generating better policies and higher levels of development, summarizes what has been learned about the origins of those capabilities, suggests avenues for further exploration, and derives lessons (and caveats) for insti ... (View publication)
This document presents the codebook for an updated version of the 2008 database on Political Institutions, State Capabilities, and Public Policy. While most databases have emphasized either the content of policies (e.g., size of government deficits) or countries’ formal institutions (e.g., political regime, electoral system), the main variables in this database reflect the policymaking capabilitie ... (View publication)
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