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Polarization and Corruption in America

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JournalEuropean economic review
DateAccepted/In press - 29 Jan 2020
DateE-pub ahead of print - 11 Feb 2020
DatePublished (current) - May 2020
Volume124
Number of pages23
Early online date11/02/20
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Using panel data from the US states, we document a robust negative relationship between state-level government corruption and ideological polarization.
This finding is sustained when state polarization is instrumented using lagged
state neighbor ideology. We argue that polarization increases the expected costs
of engaging in corruption, especially deterring marginal low-level corruption.
Consistent with this thesis federal prosecutorial effort falls and case quality
increases with polarization. Tangible anti-corruption measures including the
stringency of state ethics’ laws and independent commissions for redistricting
are also associated with increased state polarization.

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©2020 Elsevier B.V. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy.

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