The Political Determinants of Corruption
Political factors play a big role in influencing the ebbs and flows of corruption. The literature seems unanimously in agreement that, even in places where corruption is entrenched and systemic, the political calculations of individual politicians can still have an impact on corruption outcomes. On the other hand, while canonical research has delved into the divergent inner workings of different types of corruption for decades, studies on the link between politics and corruption have not paid sufficient attention to these distinctions. This dissertation speaks to the idea that politics influences different types of corruption differently in different settings. I seek to shed some light on how types of corruption and political contexts matter by studying wrongdoing at local governments in Vietnam. A contribution of the dissertation is the data collection efforts to acquire novel datasets. I got access to fine-grained data on bribery behavior at Vietnamese firms by working on the survey team for the Vietnam Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) for four years. On the politics side, I constructed a dataset on the career paths of Vietnamese provincial leaders since late 1990s, using information from newspapers, administrative almanacs, and various Internet sources.
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