The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
Corruption, particularly political or “grand” corruption, distorts the entire decision-making process connected with public investment projects. The degree of distortions is higher with weaker auditing institutions. The evidence presented shows that higher corruption is associated with (i) higher public investment; (ii) lower government revenues; (iii) lower expenditures on operations and maintenance; and (iv) lower quality of public infrastructure. The evidence also shows that corruption increases public investment while reducing its productivity. These are five channels through which corruption lowers growth. An implication is that economists should be more restrained in their praise of high public sector investment, especially in countries with high corruption.