martes, septiembre 26, 2006

Mide? Para pensar. Esta sí que es buena

Leyendo el nuevo informe del BM sobre el Este Asiático al que hacía referencia anteriormente surge un tema interesante: la corrupción. Se sabe, los países del Este Asiático son corruptos por demás, pero no por eso dejan de crecer. Hipótesis de los autores (citada pero publicada): si la corrupción está centralizada y organizada, el problema no es para tanto. ¿Qué tul? Abajo el segmento del informe, para los interesados.

Excluding Singapore and Hong Kong (China), corruption in emerging East Asia is high, comparable to Latin America, and has perhaps been increasing in recent times. Measures of
corruption are, or course, fraught with problems, but an increasing body of evidence seems to
point to corruption as a serious issue in the region32. Can East Asian growth prevail under these circumstances? Some have argued that there is an Asian paradox: how could high levels of corruption coexist with rapid economic growth? Part of the answer seems to lie with the organized nature of corruption. Political scientists hypothesize that if corruption is organized and centralized, then economic rent can be extracted from firms while also ensuring that not so much is extracted that firms move elsewhere or go bankrupt. In essence, a centralized corrupt organization has an incentive to promote economic growth, even while extorting benefits from firms. This model appears to fit East Asia quite well. Firm- level surveys show that a high proportion of firms in Cambodia (56 percent), Indonesia (41 percent), Philippines (35 percent) and China (27 percent) report that corruption is a major or severe constraint to doing business. But these same firms report that government effectiveness and regulatory quality is better than what would be expected given the degree of corruption. The impression is still one of widespread but orderly corruption. This picture was associated with strong central governments in the region. Presidents Suharto and Marcos are estimated to have embezzled billions of dollars through an organized system of corruption in which all bribes flowed to the top and were then divided between relevant government bureaucrats.
The demise of industrial planning in 1993 weakened the information linking bureaucrats and businesses in South Korea. In the new democratic political system of Korea, corruption became more disorganized. Some pin the dramatic collapse of Hanbo Steel in early 1997 on the demise of government protection. In China, too, there are reports that largescale corruption rings account for 30-60 percent of all the cases of graft uncovered by the authorities. The notion that organized, predictable corruption is less damaging to economic growth than disorganized corruption presents some challenges to middle- income East Asian countries. Centralized corruption presented a target for public attack. By some measures, East Asians are even less tolerant of corruption than citizens of western democracies. They have demanded, and obtained, broad improvements in political rights and civil liberties over the past twenty years. Along with this, they have also pushed aggressively to reduce the power of the center through ecentralized government. Decentralization brings its own challenges to the control of corruption, at least in the short term. Subnational authorities in most East Asian countries now control a large share of total public spending and have significant rights to tax, regulate and affect the business climate. Firm surveys show that the dispersion in productivity between localities in China and Indonesia is significant. In Indonesia and the Philippines, two countries which have implemented the most extensive decentralization programs in the region, firm surveys suggest that decentralization might be associated with worse corruption. In the longer term, democracy and press freedom can have significant impact on controlling corruption. The presence of press freedom brings public corruption to light, while democracy allows the public to punish corrupt politicians by removing them from office. When institutions like the judiciary are also strengthened, civil servants can no longer act with impunity. Singapore and Hong Kong (China) have long histories of prosecution of public servants, and, more recently, South Korea and Indonesia have shown a willingness to prosecute even the highest officials.
China and Vietnam have also moved aggressively against corrupt officials. But democracy and the institutions needed to find and root out corruption take time to mature. In the shorter term, the risk facing East Asia is that the “rule of man” has been largely swept away, while the “rule of law” has yet to become firmly established. The transition from centralized, corrupt governments to decentralized and uncorrupt governments may not be symmetric, and countries in the region risk being mired in this state of inefficiency, where governments are decentralized but corrupt. Especially strong anti-corruption efforts may be needed to ensure that this transition is short, or the price in terms of growth may be high.

2 comentarios:

Norman dijo...

Mr. Penguin is following WB ideas and promoting centralized corruption bureau headed by Mr. De Vido? Oh My God!!!!

Nicolás Tereschuk (Escriba) dijo...

Estimado Norman:
Sin pruebas, no puedo decirlo, pero puedo intuir que vamos detrás de la "best practice"
Un abrazo !!!!