Climate, diseases, and the origins of corruption
It has been commonly observed that tropical countries tend to suffer from intense corruption and underdevelopment. This study provides an explanation for this long-standing disparity across the world based on variation in the intensity of ultraviolet radiation (UV-R). The central hypothesis is that UV-R is positively associated with the (historical) prevalence of eye diseases, which significantly shortens work-life expectancy as a skilled worker. This helps shape the worldwide distribution of corruption by affecting the incumbents' window of opportunity. Using data for up to 139 countries, I consistently find empirical support for the positive relationship between UV-R and corruption. The main findings withstand accounting for numerous alternative explanations for international differences in corruption levels. Employing individual-level data from the World Values Survey, I document suggestive evidence that exposure to UV-R is linked to surveyed respondents' tolerance towards corrupt activities. Furthermore, a subnational analysis for China lends credence to the cross-country evidence.
University of Otago
- Business and Economics
Published inEconomics of Transition and Institutional Change
Pages621 - 649
- AM (Accepted Manuscript)
Rights holder© European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
Publisher statementThis is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Vu, T. V. (2021). Climate, diseases, and the origins of corruption. Economics of Transition and Institutional Change, 29, 621– 649. https://doi.org/10.1111/ecot.12293, which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1111/ecot.12293. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions. This article may not be enhanced, enriched or otherwise transformed into a derivative work, without express permission from Wiley or by statutory rights under applicable legislation. Copyright notices must not be removed, obscured or modified. The article must be linked to Wiley’s version of record on Wiley Online Library and any embedding, framing or otherwise making available the article or pages thereof by third parties from platforms, services and websites other than Wiley Online Library must be prohibited.