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

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

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Ph: +46 8 665 4520
niclas.berggren@ifn.se

Christian Bjørnskov

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Ph: +45 87 16 48 19
Mob: +45 20 12 03 84
chbj@econ.au.dk

Interdisciplinary European Studies

The European Union in a Changing World Order

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This book explores how the European Union responds to the ongoing challenges to the liberal international order. These challenges arise both within the EU itself and beyond its borders, and put into question the values of free trade and liberal democracy. 

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