Just a Little Off the Top


I'll admit to being more than a little shocked at the findings of this new NBER study on corruption in America. A couple of Harvard economists did a cross-county comparison and found, not terribly surprisingly, that corruption is lower in areas with higher education and income (where, presumably, people have the luxury of keeping closer tabs on their elected officials). The shocker was the absence of any independent correlation between corruption and the size and scope of government, which amounts to saying that you don't get more corruption when the opportunities to be corrupt (more rules for which to peddle exemptions, more revenue to skim) increase. Haven't had a chance to read the whole paper yet, but it's an interesting and highly counterintuitive finding if it holds up.