Working Paper
Firm-level corruption

Unravelling sand from grease

This paper adds to the recent literature on firm-level corruption by relying on rich data including detailed information on the purpose and amounts of bribe payments among Vietnamese micro, small, and medium firms.

Using industry-location averages to instrument for firm-level bribe payments in both a cross-sectional and a panel setting, we provide evidence of a large and significant positive association between corruption and firm performance.

We further show that the type of bribe payment does matter: only the payments that can arguably be considered ‘voluntary’ (rather than extortive) drive this association.