This paper analyses how the quality of governance, the size of public spending, and economic development affect the relationship between bureaucratic corruption and economic growth. The analysis shows that the interaction between corruption and governance shapes the efficiency of public spending, which in turn, determines the growth effects of corruption. Specifically, corruption improves economic efficiency only when the actual government size is above the optimal level. It implies that a growth-maximising level of corruption is possible. This paper also finds that the incidence of corruption declines with economic development. This is because with economic development the wage rate rises and makes private rent seeking costs higher, thereby, discouraging corruption. The main policy implication is that targeting tax evaders instead of bureaucrats is more effective in terms of both reducing corruption and improving the growth potential of an economy.