Peace and Petty Corruption: Evidence from Trucking in Cote d'Ivoire
Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Thursday, February 25, 2021
On-line via Zoom
3:45 pm-5:00 pm
There is a strong correlation between conflict and corruption throughout the world, especially on the African continent. This paper investigates how peace and reunification affect petty corruption. We explore a sequence of exogenous peace events following the arrest of the incumbent president of Cote d'Ivoire in April 2011, which lessened the tension caused by armed conflicts in the north (rebel area) and made the political management similar to the south (non-rebel area). A unique dataset on extortion payments by truck drivers allows us to observe more than 1,000 truck journeys and 26,000 stops over two years in corridors going from Cote d'Ivoire to Mali and Burkina Faso. Specifically, we use a difference-in-difference strategy to compare bribe behaviors at checkpoints in Cote d'Ivoire with those in Mali and Burkina Faso before and after the peace events. We find a large and significant “peace dividend": bribe values, bribe efforts, and extortion checkpoints decreased by 67%, 75%, and 30%, respectively. We argue that the reduction of bribe behaviors in the rebel zone can be explained by shifts of the checker's identity from rebels to civil servants and the bureaucracy structure from a monopoly (only rebel) to competition (customs, police, gendarmerie, and others).