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.
This paper argues that corruption patterns are endogenous to political structures. Thus, corruption can be systemic and planned rather than decentralized and coincidental. In an economic system without law or property rights, a kleptocratic state may arise as a predatory hierarchy from a state of pure anarchy. A dictator minimizes the probability of a palace revolution by creating a system of patronage and loyalty through corrupt bureaucracy. Competitive corruption patterns are associated with anarchy and weak dictators, while strong dictators implement a system of monopolistic corruption. Efforts at public sector reform may meet resistance in countries featuring such systemic corruption.