Why are the poor more vulnerable to bribery in Africa? The institutional effects of services

Caryn Peiffer, Richard Rose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Whereas most studies find the poor in Africa to be more vulnerable to bribery because of their lower socio-economic status, this paper proposes institutional differences as an alternative explanation. Because poor people are unable to afford privately provided services, they must use public services. In relying on the state more often, the poor become more vulnerable to bribery. Analyses of Afrobarometer data show that the poor are not more likely to pay bribes for state monopolised services. The poor’s disproportionate vulnerability to bribery for choice services is a function of their greater likelihood to have contact with the state.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-29
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Development Studies
Early online date5 Dec 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Dec 2016


  • bribery
  • poverty
  • monopoly services
  • health
  • education


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