The role of income uncertainty in the corruption-growth nexus

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This paper analyses how corruption-induced income uncertainty affects the relationship between corruption and economic growth. The analysis reveals both the growth-enhancing and deteriorating effects of corruption that transmit through the income and productivity channels, and shows how income uncertainty caused by corruption interacts with both of these effects. In particular, it is found that an increase in bribe rates and the probability of corruption that reduces the burden of regulations generate counteracting effects on income and productivity, where both effects are further aggravated by corruption-induced income uncertainty. On the other hand, a higher burden of bribes imposed by extortive bureaucrats hampers growth unambiguously. However, in a highly corrupt environment, an increase in the incidence of extortive behaviour can be growth enhancing as it reduces income uncertainty, while if corruption levels are relatively low, then a further increase in the incidence of such behaviour deteriorates growth. These findings give us a new insight into why the overall growth effect of corruption is ambiguous.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1169-1201
Number of pages33
JournalBE Journal of Economic Analysis and Policy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016


  • corruption
  • growth
  • income uncertainty

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