Saturday, November 20, 2004


The principal driver of political corruption is not usually the politician's desire for enrichment -- rather it is to generate oversized funds to finance expensive election campaigns. As Hilton Root noted, this is very much the case in India.

New York Times' Nicholas Kristof writes today of an interesting Chilean experiment where large contributions (> $500) are channeled via blind trusts. This creates a situation where:

If officials don't know who their major contributors are, they can't invite them to ... (for example) write tax loopholes. A donor might boast about having made a contribution, but special interests will realize they can save money by telling politicians that they have donated when they haven't, and then politicians will doubt these boasts.

Ordinarily, we favor transparency, but this concept has us intrigued.

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