Journal articles published externally

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These are journal articles by World Bank authors published externally.

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  • Publication
    The Impact of Decentralization on Subnational Government Fiscal Slack in Indonesia
    (2009-07) Lewis, Blane D.; Oosterman, Andre
    Since Indonesia began implementing its decentralization program in 2001, subnational unspent balances have grown rapidly and have reached levels that many officials find unreasonably high. But the extent to which subnational government reserves are excessive, in general, is not obvious. A not implausible decrease in the price of oil would reduce transfers to subnationals significantly and, if sustained, could possibly eliminate reserves in a relatively short time. Central government should not take any immediate action to reduce subnational slack resources directly but should instead focus on removing the underlying causes of such.
  • Publication
    The Simple Economics of Extortion: Evidence from Trucking in Aceh
    (2009) Olken, Benjamin A.; Barron, Patrick
    This paper tests whether the behavior of corrupt officials is consistent with standard industrial organization theory. We designed a study in which surveyors accompanied Indonesian truck drivers on 304 trips, during which they observed over 6,000 illegal payments to police, soldiers, and weigh station attendants. Using plausibly exogenous changes in the number of checkpoints, we show that market structure affects the level of illegal payments. We further show that corrupt officials use complex pricing schemes, including third-degree price discrimination and a menu of two-part tariffs. Our findings illustrate the importance of considering the market structure for bribes when designing anticorruption policy.
  • Publication
    Understanding Variations in Local Conflict: Evidence and Implications from Indonesia
    (2009) Barron, Patrick; Kaiser, Kai; Pradhan, Menno
    Recent studies of large-scale "headline" conflicts have excluded consideration of local conflict, in large part due to the absence of representative data at low levels of geographic specification. This paper is a first attempt to correct for that by assessing the incidence, impacts, and patterns of local conflict in Indonesia. We employ a combination of qualitative fieldwork with an exploratory statistical analysis of the 2003 Village Potential Statistics collected by the Bureau of Statistics (Potensi Desa-PODES), which maps conflict across all of Indonesia's villages/neighborhoods. Violent conflict can be observed throughout the archipelago. The qualitative analysis shows that local conflicts vary in form and impacts across districts, and that local factors are key. The quantitative analysis, which excludes high conflict areas of Indonesia, confirms the importance of economic factors, with positive correlations between violent conflict and poverty, inequality, and variables measuring economic development. Clustering of ethnic groups and ill-defined property rights were also positively associated with violence.
  • Publication
    Subject Pool Effects in a Corruption Experiment: A Comparison of Indonesian Public Servants and Indonesian Students
    (2009) Alatas, Vivi; Cameron, Lisa; Chaudhuri, Ananish; Erkal, Nisvan; Gangadharan, Lata
    We report results from a corruption experiment with Indonesian public servants and Indonesian students. Our results suggest that the Indonesian public servant subjects have a significantly lower tolerance of corruption than the Indonesian students. We find no evidence that this is due to a selection effect. The reasons given by the subjects for their behaviour suggest that the differences in behavior across the subject pools are driven by their different real life experiences. For example, when abstaining from corruption, public servants more often cite the need to reduce the social costs of corruption as a reason for their actions, and when engaging in corruption, they cite low government salaries or a belief that corruption is a necessary evil in the current environment. In contrast, students give more simplistic moral reasons. We conclude by emphasizing that results obtained from different subject pools can complement each other in illuminating different aspects of the same problem.