Gender and Bureaucratic Corruption: Evidence from Two Countries

Francesco Decarolis, Raymond Fisman*, Paolo Pinotti, Silvia Vannutelli, Yongxiang Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


We examine the correlation between gender and bureaucratic corruption using two distinct datasets, from Italy and from China. In each case, we find that women are far less likely to be investigated for corruption than men. In our Italian data, female procurement officials are 22% less likely than men to be investigated for corruption by enforcement authorities; in China, female prefectural leaders are 81% less likely to be arrested for corruption than men. While these represent correlations (rather than definitive causal effects), both are very robust relationships, which survive the inclusion of fine-grained individual and geographic controls, and based on Oster's (2019. “Unobservable Selection and Coefficient Stability: Theory and Evidence, ” 37 Journal of Business & Economic Statistics 187-204.) test unlikely to be driven by unobservables. Using data from a survey of Italian procurement officials, we present tentative evidence on mechanism: the gender gap is partly due to women acting more “defensively” in administering their duties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)557-585
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Law, Economics, and Organization
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 1 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Law


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