Friday, October 06, 2006

The culture of corruption

Raymond Fisman and Edward Miguel published a quite interesting study. They wanted to study the cultural influence on corruption and devised a way to do it: they measured the parking violations of diplomats in NYC.

Because of diplomatic inmunity there is almost zero enforcement of the law, so the cultural effects should be evident. The results are quite interesting:

As you can see in the figure the countries with the most negligent diplomats are also countries with high indexes of corruption and poverty. Of course we can argue if corruption causes poverty or poverty causes corruption. Which are the countries with no parking tickets? Unsurprsingly enough: Canada, Israel, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. This are highly devoloped countries, showing again the correlation between poverty (or lack thereof) and corruption.

My opinion: the only reason for diplomats for parking where they pleased is the culture of corruption, they knew they could do it and get away with it, so why not doing it? This is the kind of mentality that keeps countries in the thirld world.

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