- Free University of Bozen
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Polo Santa Marta, Via Cantarane 24, Room 1.59
This paper explores the link between voters' information, corruption and efficiency in the context of a career concern model where politically connected local monopolies are in charge of the provision of a local public service. We find that both a corrupt environment and a low level of voters' information on managerial actions induce managers to reduce effort levels, thereby contributing to drive down efficiency. We test our predictions using data on solid waste management services provided by a large sample of Italian municipalities. We estimate a stochastic cost frontier model that provides robust evidence that services provided in more corrupt regions and in regions with low voters' information are substantially less cost efficient. We show that the negative impact of a corrupt environment is weaker for municipalities ruled by left-wing parties, while the positive impact of voters' information is larger if the waste collection service is managed by limited liability companies.
We finally quantify potential cost savings associated to operating in a less corrupt environment and in one in which voters are more informed through a simulation on six major Italian cities. The magnitude of the figures suggests that effective anti-corruption measures, and/or carefully designed incentives for citizens to acquire information, can generate significant economic benefits.