Corruption

In: Social Issues

Submitted By satvikmanaktala
Words 1920
Pages 8
In the world’s worst offending countries, corrupt government officials steal public money and collude with businesses to sell laws, rules, regulations, and government contracts. The World Bank reports that “higher levels of corruption are associated with lower per capita income” (World Bank 2001, p. 105). Corruption breeds poverty, and poverty kills. In other words, corruption kills.
How so? Corruption sabotages economies and undermines political institutions. Its most devastating impact is on INVESTMENT. By discouraging investment, corruption crushes ECONOMIC GROWTH and slashes per capita incomes. According to Mauro (1995), for example, if Bangladesh had cut corruption over the period 1960–1985 to the level of one of the world’s cleanest countries (Singapore), it would have increased its growth rate by 1.8 percentage points per year. By 1985, its per capita income would have been more than 50 percent higher. Low-per-capita-income countries suffer higher infant mortality—54 deaths per 1,000 live births in Bangladesh versus 3 per 1,000 in Singapore—and lower average life expectancies—fifty-nine years versus eighty years (U.S. Census Bureau 2000.) Another insidious way in which corruption kills is that it skews public spending away from operating budgets such as HEALTH CARE and toward capital budgets—military spending, for example, where bribes are easier to extract (Klitgaard 1988; Mauro 1996; Tanzi and Davoodi 1997).
Corruption hurts investment in at least three ways. First, it increases the cost of doing business, which then raises the threshold revenues required for businesses to break even. Second, it causes producers, on the margin, to bribe officials rather than invest in cost-saving technology or new products. Third, if public funds end up in the pockets of government officials, taxes will be higher and public investment lower, hurting economic growth.
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