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Parking Tickets and Corruption

New York City, home to the United Nations and many foreign diplomats, has famously coped with the problem of diplomats racking up comically high numbers of parking tickets. Ray Fisman and Edward Miguel have made a good lemonade from these lemons, writing a paper that explores the correlation between a given country’s level of corruption and its diplomats’ willingness to incur tickets. Their conclusion:

We find tremendous persistence in corruption norms: diplomats from high corruption countries (based on existing survey-based indices) have significantly more parking violations. In a second main result, officials from countries that survey evidence indicates have less favorable popular views of the United States commit significantly more parking violations, providing nonlaboratory evidence on the role that sentiment and affinity play in economic decision-making.

Hat tip: James Erlandson and the Private Sector Development Blog.