This paper examines the extent to which anti-corruption audits effectively remove corrupt bureaucrats from office. We examine the effects of 10 years of random anti-corruption audits on the career outcomes of about 0.5 million Brazilian municipal employees. While previous studies have documented that these audits successfully remove corrupt politicians from office, we show that their impact on corrupt bureaucrats is much smaller. Dismissal and departure rates in municipalities found to be non-corrupt are comparable to those of non-audited municipalities. However, employees of corrupt municipalities have longer tenure than in non-audited municipalities. After an audit, dismissal and departure rates immediately catch-up with those of non-audited municipalities for low-skilled frontline providers. For high-skilled bureaucrats, these rates only catch up in the next electoral term, if a mayor from opposition wins, suggesting higher removal costs for high-skilled bureaucrats. Results suggest that while anti-corruption campaigns may be effective at removing political kingpins, they are far less effective at removing their accomplices among bureaucrats.
PE Research Seminar: Romain Ferrali
Thu, May 2, 2019, 12:15 pm