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 examines interactions between self-interested agents in a two-tier government hierarchy, consisting of a central authority and bureaucrats in a two-stage game, where the actions of agents affect private sector allocations. Conditions under which lower-tier corruption arises as an equilibrium characterization of the game are identified. If bureaucratic corruption sufficiently reduces the tax base, policies that deter corruption may be optimal. When monitoring is expensive or ineffective, lower-level corruption arises as equilibrium. Tax farming and the sale of offices can occur in these equilibria. In addition, strategic complementarities between bureaucrats may give rise to multiple equilibria.