Stopping Bribery: Is Legalizing it Sometimes the Answer?

business_ethics_highlights_2Despite its title, the piece below doesn’t take an entirely permissive view of bribery. But it points out that, at a certain stage of economic development, legalizing and formalizing private fees paid to government officials can be a stepping stone towards eventually having those services fully funded by taxpayers. It worked for Sweden in the 19th century; could it work for Romania or Cambodia in the 21st? >>>

LINK: Stop Bribery by Legalizing It (by Leonid Bershidsky for Bloomberg View)

…In a 2012 paper, Anders Sundell of the University of Gothenburg described how Sweden — now one of the world’s least corrupt countries — went from a system based on bureaucrats’ right to charge direct fees, or sportler, for their services to one that established official schedules for such fees, then one that imposed stamp taxes for specific actions, before arriving at its contemporary system of entirely tax-financed government. Every stage logically followed the previous one, with bureaucrats gradually giving up their freedom to charge as much as they wanted for a slightly smaller but officially mandated income. ….

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