The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd


  • Susan Rose-Ackerman
Reference work entry


Bribery is a form of rent-seeking meant to induce officials to serve private interests. Principal–agent relations are at the heart of the economic analysis of the subject. Bribery undermines government functioning by influencing electoral outcomes, lowering the benefits from public contracts, distorting the allocation of public benefits and costs, and introducing delay and red tape. Empirical work documents the negative consequences of corruption, and economic theory helps one understand the underlying incentives for payoffs.


Bribery Bureaucracy Campaign finance, economics of Corruption Democracy Presidential democracy Principal and agent Privatization Procurement, government Proportional representation Public interest Public services Rent seeking 

JEL Classifications

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan Rose-Ackerman
    • 1
  1. 1.