Real wage declines have been common in the public sector in many countries over substantial periods of time. In several cases, such wage reductions have coincided with declines in the efficiency of the public sector. In a simple analytical framework, it is shown that higher wage levels alter the incentive-compatible equilibrium by attracting relatively skilled human capital to the government sector, which raises the quality of public output—tax revenue collection in this paper, increases in wages should complement appropriate monitoring and penalty rates for effective tax administration; prescriptions of raising the statutory tax rate alone, however, may not increase revenue collection.
Most former Soviet republics have fallen into an economic and political under-reform trap. An intrusive state imposes high tax rates and drives entrepreneurs into the unofficial economy, which further aggravates the pressure on official businessmen. Tax revenues and public goods dwindle, further reducing incentives to register business activity. This economic under-reform trap has a political counterpart. Remarkably, Communist parties remain popular and opposed to establishing the rule of law precisely in those places where they were able to delay and derail reform. No electoral backlash prompts the reforms necessary to leave the under-reform trap. The best way out of the trap in countries such as Russia and Ukraine is increased economic and political competition among the elite.
This first issue of Volume 51 for 2004 includes a new paper by Peter B. Clark and Jacques J. Polak, along with a tribute from the Editor to Mr. Polak in honor of his 90th birthday. This issue also launches a new featured section, "Data Issues," which will be devoted in future issues to on-going discussions of the latest in econometric and statistical tools for economists, data puzzles, and other related topics of interest to researchers.
This paper describes the issue of corruption around the world. The paper surveys and discusses issues related to the causes, consequences, and scope of corruption, and possible corrective actions. It emphasizes the costs of corruption in terms of economic growth. It also emphasizes that the fight against corruption may not be cheap and cannot be independent from the reform of the state. If certain reforms are not made, corruption is likely to continue to be a problem regardless of actions directly aimed at curtailing it.