Working Paper No. 1311

Corruption, Judicial Accountability and Inequality: Unfair Procedures May Benefit the Worst-Off

Published: December 16, 2019Pages: 47Keywords: Corruption; Inequality; Institutions; Accountability; Rent-seeking
Published version

Corruption, Judicial Accountability and Inequality: Unfair Procedures May Benefit the Worst-Off Niclas Berggren och Christian Bjørnskov

We ask whether, as many seem to think, corruption worsens, and judicial accountability improves, inequality, and investigate this empirically using data from 145 countries 1960–2014. We relate perceived corruption and de facto judicial accountability to gross-income inequality and consumption inequality. The study shows that corruption is negatively, and that judicial accountability is positively, related to both types of inequality.

The estimates are particularly pronounced in democracies and arguably causal, as we find that the full effect only occurs after institutional stability has been established; The findings suggest that “unfair procedures” – corruption and deviations from judicial accountability – may benefit the economically worst off and worsen the situation of the economic elite.

Niclas Berggren


Ph: +46 8 665 4520

Christian Bjørnskov


Ph: +45 87 16 48 19
Mob: +45 20 12 03 84

Interdisciplinary European Studies

The European Union and the Return of the Nation State


This book explores the complex and ever-changing relationship between the European Union and its member states. The recent surge in tension in this relationship has been prompted by the actions of some member state governments as they question fundamental EU values and principles and refuse to implement common decisions seemingly on the basis of narrowly defined national interests.

About the book


Seminars organized by IFN


To present ongoing research informal brown-bag seminars are held on Mondays at 11:30 am. This is an opportunity for IFN researchers to test ideas and results.

Academically oriented seminars are most of the time held on Wednesdays at 10 am. At these events researchers from IFN and other institutions present their research.

In addition, IFN organizes seminars open to the public. Topics for these are derived from the IFN research.

Research Institute of Industrial Economics, Grevgatan 34 - 2 fl, Box 55665, SE-102 15 Stockholm, Sweden | Phone: +46-(0)8-665 45 00 |