Posted: October 16th, 2022

Corruption, norms, and legal enforcement: evidence from diplomatic

2. Corruption, Norms, and Legal Enforcement: Evidence from Diplomatic Parking Tickets

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We study cultural norms and legal enforcement in controlling corruption by analyzing the parking behavior of United Nations officials in Manhattan. Until 2002, diplomatic immunity protected UN diplomats from parking enforcement actions, so diplomats’ actions were constrained by cultural norms alone. We find a strong effect of corruption norms: diplomats from high‐corruption countries (on the basis of existing survey‐based indices) accumulated significantly more unpaid parking violations. In 2002, enforcement authorities acquired the right to confiscate diplomatic license plates of violators. Unpaid violations dropped sharply in response. Cultural norms and (particularly in this context) legal enforcement are both important determinants of corruption

1. What do the author state are often mentioned contributors to corruption?

2. What is the confounding problem making it hard to distinguish between these two contributors to corruption?

3. What do the authors basically study? What is diplomatic immunity and why is it important? Why/How is parking illegally considered a form of corruption?

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4.  How does studying diplomats in the U.S. allow the authors to study culture?

5. Why is it hard to study corruption? 

6. What is the authors’ comparison between Norway and Nigeria?

7. What happened in November 2002?

8. What do the authors conclude from their experiment regarding November 2002 and culture versus enforcement?

9. what some examples of how cultural background affects individual behavior, according to prior research?

10. Describe some of the main results from Table 1

11. Describe Figure 1. What does it show?

12. The authors attempt to explain the number of unpaid parking tickets by running a regression. They include some country-level characteristics including, foreign aid, military aid, and income per capita in these regressions. What reasons do the authors provide for using these 3 measueres?

13. What does Table 3 show? (ie main results)

14. What do the authors find regarding individual diplomat behavior as the time they are in NYC increases with respect to parking tickets? How does this vary by high and low corruption countries (Nigeria vs Norway)? What does this suggest/mean?

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