Search the Site

A Corruption/Parking Tickets Map

Forbes‘s Jon Bruner has made a cool map of economists Raymond Fisman and Edward Miguel‘s paper “Cultures of Corruption: Evidence From Diplomatic Parking Tickets” (noted here earlier). The paper measured diplomats who used their immunity to dodge parking fines, resulting in a list of violations per U.N. diplomat. Kuwait tops the list at 246 violations per diplomat. The map is paired with corruption scores from Transparency International, Bruner notes in his blog post:

Fisman and Miguel set out to use the parking data to understand the impact of social norms on official corruption. The idea is that diplomatic parking violations are essentially consequence free, except for any approbation that might come from the diplomat’s home state. A political culture that doesn’t mind its diplomats racking up parking tickets might not mind outright corruption.

The correlation between political corruption and parking violations is statistically robust, but a quick comparison between the two maps suggests that it’s not universal. Russia and China, both of which score poorly on the Transparency International index, had fewer than 10 outstanding parking tickets per diplomat when the study was conducted–perhaps because they have generally professional foreign services that try to avoid the appearance of taking advantage of diplomatic immunity. And Kuwait, the worst parking offender with 246 unpaid tickets per diplomat, has a middling corruption score of 4.5–better than China’s.