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Power over Prosecutors Corrupts Politicians: Cross Country Evidence Using a New Indicator

Power over Prosecutors Corrupts Politicians: Cross Country Evidence Using a New Indicator

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Power over Prosecutors Corrupts Politicians: Cross Country Evidence Using a New Indicator

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  1. Power over Prosecutors Corrupts Politicians:Cross Country Evidence Using a New Indicator Stefan VoigtUniversity of Kassel and ICER, Lars P. Feld University of Marburg and CESifo, Anne van AakenMax Planck Institute Heidelberg

  2. 1. Introduction • Possible reforms of prosecution agencies discussed in quite a few countries • One reason: members of executive had put pressure on prosecutors • Hypotheses here: • pressure is a function of institutional set-up of prosecution agencies • high degree of government influence on prosecutors will, c.p., lead to higher levels of government crimes, including corruption

  3. Paper combines economics of prosecution agencies with economics of corruption. • Very little on first topic (Aaken, Salzberger, Voigt 2004 first attempt); • Two branches within the analysis of corruption: (1) (Economic) consequences of corruption (c. exogenous) (2) Causes of corruption (c. as endogenous) • Second branch here relevant: Corruption can be explained by drawing on • regulatory policies (Ades/di Tella 1999), • the level of economic development (Treisman 2000), • historical and cultural factors (Treisman 2000) • electoral institutions (Persson et al. 2003, Golden/Chang 2001)

  4. and – in addition to these hypotheses – by drawing on • the structure of institutions set up for prosecuting crimes. • This paper: • Makes organizational structure of prosecution agencies comparable by introducing a de jure and a de facto indicator; • Estimates effects of organizational set-up on (perceived) corruption. • Main finding: • De facto prosecutorial independence leads to lower levels of corruption.

  5. Organization • Introduction • Some Theory • Introducing Two New Indicators • Estimation Approach • Estimation Results • Conclusions and Open Questions

  6. 2. Some Theory • “Procuracy” as generic term for prosecution agencies • Corruption := the misuse of entrusted power for private benefit • Institutional Structure of procuracy  incentives of prosecutors • More specifically: prosecutors who are subject to pressure from the executive (and/or legislature) less likely to prosecute crimes committed by government members  expected utility of committing crime  ( corruption ) • Additionally: •  higher degrees of separation of powers •  likelihood prosecution  •  higher degrees of federalism •  likelihood prosecution 

  7. 3. Two New Indicators for Prosecutorial Independence • 3.1De Jure Prosecutorial Independence • 16 variables grouped into 5 “subindicators” • each variable can take on value between 0 and 1; • sum of variables divided by number of variables for which data available;  indicator between 0 and 1 with higher values indicating more independence.

  8. Subindicator 1: General Institutional Traits of Procuracy •  Procuracy mentioned in the Constitution?  Formal qualification requirements?  Difficulty of removing prosecutors  General rule for allocating incoming cases? • Subindicator 2: Personal Independence of Prosecutors  Term length  Renewability of term  Appointing organ  Promotion  Removal from office  Transfer against own will

  9. Subindicator 3: Formal Independence of Prosecutors  Internal Orders?  External Orders?  Right to Substitute Prosecutors working on specific case? • Subindicator 4: Monopoly to Prosecute?  Monopoly to Prosecute?  Judicial Review of (Non-)Prosecution Decisions? • Subindicator 5: Degree of Discretion in Prosecution  Legality vs. Opportunity Principle

  10. 3.2 De facto Prosecutorial Independence • Constructed in the same way as de jure indicator • But: very sticky (1990-2000; 1960-2000) • 6 variables • Prosecutors forced to retire against their will? • Prosecutors removed from office against their will? • Number of changes in legal foundations? • Income of prosecutors at least constant in real terms since 1960? • Budget of procuracy at least constant in real terms since 1960? • Number of cases initiated by others than procuracy?

  11. Country • De jure Rank • De facto Rank • Argentina • 1 • 70 • Venezuela • 2 • 35 • Estonia • 3 • 21 • Colombia • 4 • 64 • Guatemala • 5 • 55 • Switzerland • 52 • 17 • Germany • 54 • 29 • England • 57 • 18 • USA • 60 • 18 • France • 63 • 1 • Australia • 74 • 8 • Denmark • 75 • 14 3.3 Some Stock Taking • De jure and de facto PI deviate strongly from each other: • R2 = -0.338

  12. 4. The Estimation Approach • with: • CPI Corruption Perception Index, average from 1998 – 2003, • (source: Transparency International); • JI vector of de jure and de facto judicial independence, • (source: Feld and Voigt 2003); • LegOr Legal Origin, • Regime Vector of political regime variables (federalism; parl./pres.systems) • X Vector of economic controls (GDP/cap., pop.size, trade openness etc.) CPI = 0 + 1 de jure PI + 2 de facto PI + 3 JI+ 4 LegOr + 5 Regime + 6 X+ 

  13. 5. Estimation Results

  14. 6 Conclusions and Open Questions • De facto PI has expected effect on corruption • But: How to explain that de jure PI has opposite effect? • Reverse causality possible reason •  (Re-)estimate, possible with useful instrument • Other possible next steps: •  Include “false positives”, i.e. prosecution of crimes that have never been committed; • Include the police into analysis. • Endogenize PI