Table of Contents
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
1.2 PROBLEM STATEMENT
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
1.4 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
1.5 OPERATIONAL DEFNITIONS
1.7 SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS
1.8 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
REVIEW OF RELATED LITRATURE
2.1 INTRODUCTION AND THEORETICAL LITRATURE
2.2 EMPIRICAL FINDINGS ON CORRUPTION AND SERVICE DELIVERY
2.3 COMPARATIVE FINDINGS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES
2.4 LAND SECTOR AND CORRUPTION IN ETHIOPIA
2.5 OVERVIEW OF CORRUPTION IN OROMIA REGION
3.2 RESEARCH DESIGN AND APPROACH
3.3 SAMPLE POPULATION
3.4 DATA COLLECTION
3.5 DATA ANALYSIS
DATA PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS
4.1 DEMOGRAPHIC INFORMATION
4.2 PREVALENCE OF CORRUPTION
4.3 CORRUPTION AND SERVICE DELIVERY
4.4 MEASURES TO COMBAT CORRUPTION
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
5.1.1 FINDINGS ON PREVALENCEOF CORRUPTION
5.1.2 CORRUPTION AND SERVICE DELIVERY
5.1.3 MEASURES TO COMBAT CORRUPTION
Above all, my praise goes to the Almighty God whose Divine protection and provision has enabled me to pursue this path of seeking wisdom. It was not possible with out him. Glory be to his name. My sincere appreciation goes to my advisor Abate Sebsibe (PHD) for his invaluable guidance, encouragement and professional advice extended to me since inception of proposal to completion of my thesis.
I am also grateful to Bikila Hurisa (PHD), Bureau Head of Oromia Public Service, Ato Tefera Tesfaye, officer at Oromia Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, And Ato Hundara Fekadu of Oromia Justice bureau for their willingness to provide me with required materials and information.
Last but not least, my heartfelt appreciation goes to my lovely wife( Diribe Shiferaw) for her kind love and support. My kids also deserve appreciation for chasing my boredom and frustration away.
List of Figures Page
Figure 1.1 Political transition and corruption 7
Figure 4.1 Gender and Age of Respondents 25
Figure 4.2- Educational Status of Respondents 26
Figure 4.3- Respondents by Their Respective Addresses 27
Figure 4.4- Occupational profile of respondents 28
ABREVIATIONS AND ACRONYMS
Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten
Corruption is a phenomenon with secretive nature making it difficult to research about. Land administration is one of the main economic sectors prone to higher level of corruption. The overall goal of this research was to identify the link between corruption in land title deeds registration and transfer processes and its bearing on service delivery at Sebeta town administration. In specific terms, this research was conducted with the following three aims. The first aim was understanding prevalence of corruption in land title deeds registration and transfer services of Sebeta municipality. The second aim was understanding whether service delivery was negatively impacted due to high prevalence of corruption and the last aim was consolidating possible measures stated by service seekers and officials as effective ways to prevent corruption. In this research, over eighty service seekers sampled out of community members waiting for their cases being processed at Sebeta municipality premises were interviewed. Respondents were selected using purposive sampling technique so as to identify respondents who were at the premises with the purpose of getting their property registered or transferred. From government office, officers at OEACC, Justice office, head of public service and land administration reform desk team leader were interviewed. Findings of this research indicates that majority of service seeker respondents perceive that Sebeta land administration is plagued with corruption which does not show any sign of decreasing even under the current regime which promised swiping reforms. Respondents also consider that service delivery was deteriorated due to systematic corruption engrained in the daily dealings of officers at the land administration. Involvement of middlemen in getting cases processed at the office was named one of the most worrying hinderances put on the way of other service seekers. Officers indicated that grand corruption has ceased since the reform; but ordinary citizens refute the claim, saying that local level has not seen significant reform or hope of it coming. In conclusion, there is a strong tendency to consider corruption as a normal routine by the wider public in their daily discourse. Added to this service delivery is undertaken through network of middlemen who use up majority of office hours of officers responsible for serving the public equally. In recommendation, there should be a scheme to strengthen public awareness on negative impact of corruption on local development and service delivery. Local population should play its part in combatting corruption by having sufficient access to information in relation to administration of their local affairs including management of land resources owned collectively.
Key Words : Corruption, Land Administration, Title deeds
Land issues have been rising up the agenda of policy makers due to rapid urbanization and high food prices. Yet, land administration is one of the most corrupt government activities. Corruption in land administration is a major problem in many developing countries. In terms of small-scale petty corruption, an international survey found that over one in five people reported having paid a bribe when dealing with land services, placing land as the third most corrupt sector (Transparency International: 2010-2011). Development aspirations of countries are highly associated with the level of efficiency in which those countries manage their productive resources including land. Land is one of the most demanded resources as all economic activities are based on it. Societies which have created internal stability and a functioning market economy recognize the need for effective systems for registering private land rights and for inexpensive system of land transfer. The privatization of land and the registration of tenure whether free hold, enable people to improve their land and property so maximizing its value and use (UNECE, 2007).
Sebeta is one of Oromia towns surrounding Addis Ababa. For an unfamiliar passerby, Sebeta may seem a small town with few investments and low economic activity. However, municipality of this town manages important residential and business areas such as Furi, an area adjacent to Jemo communal residence premises, Walatte near Kara Kore, and residential villages adjacent to Alem bank neighborhoods of Addis Ababa. Due to proximity to Mercato, the bustling business hub of Addis, the above areas of Sebeta town are highly demanded by traders for residence and small business purposes.
In a closer look, one would observe that sebeta is involved in very high level of transactions related to land such as title deeds transfers, legalizing illegal buildings, transferring ownership to lease and above all, through allocating housing plots to organized housing associations who fulfilled the requirements set for accessing land for those purposes. In recent years, one can also observe concentration of small-scale manufacturing industries clustered in the administrative boundary of the town. Primary sources of the land which is rendered to be allocated by the municipality for the above purposes is recategorized farm lands by paying farmers nominal amounts as compensations and letting them own a few plots for housing for their families. The first interface of corruption and rent seeking in municipality service delivery probably starts to set in from the time a farm land is considered for a sort of municipal activity such as housing and handing over to those who want to set up factories or other establishments.
Relate to this, trends show that the demand for housing in the area has surpassed capacity of the town administration to supply housing plots to those who are looking for them. Due to this, most of new housing structures are built illegally through a practice of ‘Chereka Bet’. This is a practice of building squatter settlements during the night under the lunar light so that law enforcement officers would not confiscate the materials used for building those houses and evading detention. Those who managed to build such squatters and survived demolition for a year or so are considered lucky. Then they start to pay annual nominal tax for owning a house on that land. The process of owning a squatter house and surviving demolition and attempting to get an official title deed for such a house is another route by which corruption and rent seeking starts in the bureaucratic structure.
Recent literature on corruption trends in Ethiopia indicate that the country is being under a significant challenge of rampant corruption. According to the 2010/2011 Global Corruption Barometer (GCB), 50% of respondents reported having paid a bribe to land services (Transparency International, 2011a). According to the Federal Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (FEACC), the institutionalization of informal fees is seen to have become so commonplace in the land sector that the FEACC states it was nearly impossible to get a plot of land without bribing city administration officials. Word Bank affirms this claim by stating that rules for access to land are not clear and some have better access than others, largely due to relationships or payment of bribes (World Bank, 2012a). Related to this, Transparency International’s 2013 Global Corruption Barometer (GCB), indicated that a significant proportion of respondents (43%) think that corruption levels in Ethiopia have increased in the years preceding the survey (Transparency International, 2013b). Corruption is perceived to be a serious problem in Ethiopia. A household survey commissioned by FEACC indicated that customs services was the most corrupt sector, followed by land administration. In the case of customs, those who are exposed to corruption have high capacity to pay and transfer their costs to others through overpricing their commodities. When it comes to land related corruption, it affects all level of the population as land is need for all economic activities. However, corruption in land sector affects the poor so disproportionately as corruption is regressive in its nature. The country was ranked 111th out of 177 countries in Transparency International’s 2013 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI).
1.2 PROBLEM STATEMENT
In the four years leading to the higher-level political reforms of 2018 in Ethiopia, there were widespread disruptive rallies and confrontations between citizens and security forces costing thousands of lives and destruction of assets. Among the widely raised demands of the rallies was quest for good governance in the lower level of the bureaucratic structure. Citizens were tired of the level of corruption in the local governance and poor service delivery. The other main triggers of Oromia wide rallies were the 2015 public announcement of the Addis Ababa and surrounding towns integrated masterplan. This masterplan was seen by the protesting public as a grand scheme of land grab aimed at incorporating districts surrounding Addis to the administrative domain of the city. Continued discontent and crackdowns on those who took to the streets fueled further grievances. At the boiling point of the matter, locals in some corners of Oromia resorted to demolishing and burning some government outposts such as kebele offices and homes of local officers implicated in mishandling administrative matters of the localities. It was this time that team Lemma came to the attention of the public, promising a sweeping reform and doing away with visible shortfalls of good governance in the lower structure of the ruling group. At the outset, public speeches made by these charismatic leaders managed to capture attention of the wider public and hope of all rounded reform was high.
However, nearly a year since the reformists came to power, little change is observed in the lower structure and local service delivery does not seem to change in the direction sought by the reformists. On the contrary, there are observable exacerbation of illegal land grabbing in the past few months. On its May 23, 2019 edition, Fana Broadcasting Corporate (FBC) quoted mayor of Addis Ababa ( Finfinne) as saying ‘an organized land grabbing and construction of illegal houses are highly increasing in the city, especially in Bole, Yeka, Kolfe, Nefas Silk and Akaki Kaliti sub-cities. The key actors in these illegal activities are investors, government officials, and brokers, including groups who have their own political agendas’. Since there was no clearly demarcated boundary lines between Finfinne and surrounding Oromia towns, there were similar incidences of land grabs as those claimed to have happened in Finfinne. Some citizens who are looking for services related to property ownership and transfer are facing prolonged delays as was usual in the old days. Corrupt dealings and bribery are not out of horizon. This implies that lack of good governance, corruption and bribery is ongoing and lower level cadre of the ruling party are not aligned with the vision of those at the helm. It then turns out that reform is yet to come down to the lower level and local service delivery remains of poor standard.
There is no recent research in to how the higher-level political reform has resulted in efficiency gains in local service delivery and good governance including minimization of corruption. Since there is no detailed research in how corruption is currently affecting local service delivery related to land administration, administrative officers and officers linked to authorizing and managing land certification and transfer services are collectively blamed as culprits. Being collectively labeled as rent seekers could further push municipality officials to indulge in corruption since they know that their name and reputation is already tarnished. Service quality will continue to diminish in the worst case that majority of municipality staffs become rent seekers. Service seekers who are not able and willing to pay informal facilitation fees will face challenges of failing to get their cases through the bureaucratic hierarchy. On the other hand, service seekers who are able and willing to pay those informal fees would get their cases through the structure swiftly. Those whose cases went through smoothly will further be motivated to utilize the bureaucratic structure to their maximum advantage by further corrupting the administrative officers responsible for serving the public equally. The problems then continue to spiral out of control of those who claim to be responsible for administrative matters including land issues which are too prone to mismanagement.
This paper would fill in this gap of research by analyzing recent trends in corruption in local service delivery of Sebata municipality, focusing specifically on land title deeds registration and deeds transfer processes.
Corruption, given its secret nature is a phenomenon that is easy to sense yet hard to capture. It is a constant challenge for researchers, motivating them to develop scientific methods in approaching this sensitive issue. In line with this, my study will approach the subject matter by designing and presenting the following questions to the sample population.
Questions in their order were as follows:
1> What is the extent of corruption prevalence in land title deeds registration and transfer services of Sebeta land administration office?
2> How is corruption negatively impacting service delivery in Sebeta land administration office?
3> What possible measures can reduce corruption in land administration office of Sebeta Municipality?
The above questions will then be linked to purpose of the study listed in section below. Accordingly, questionnaires designed to address the above general study areas were presented to sample population.
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The prime purpose of this study is to analyze impact of corruption on land title registration and transfer services of Sebeta municipality and to bring to light the real problems service seekers have faced in accessing services of their choice at their time of convenience. To be more specific, the study was undertaken in order to:
1. Identify and understand the prevalence of corruption in land title deeds registration and land title deeds transfer functions of Sebata municipality.
2. To evaluate consequences of corruption on land title deeds registration and transfer process of the town.
3. And finally, to suggest possible measures to reduce corruption in land title deeds registration and transfer process of the municipality.
1.4 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
It is not debatable that Ethiopia is undergoing a process of political and economic transformation and is on the rout to democratization. Montinola and Jackman, (2002) argued that countries undergoing political and economic transition to be susceptible to higher level of corruption compared to both dictatorships and democracies. According to these researchers, this happens due to struggle over source of accumulation, distribution of access and buying legitimacy. In dictatorships, corruption is relatively low due to presence of careful monitoring placed on officials using a system of mutual oversight and repression. On the other hand, democracies minimize corruption through participative decision making which involves participating local public in decisions affecting their neighborhoods. Presence of independent media and their access to information in democracies is another factor contributing to lower corruption as media is commonly involved in debunking corrupt practices. Other researchers found out that all the countries with the highest levels of corruption are developing or transition countries. Strikingly, many are governed, or have recently been governed, by socialist governments. With few exceptions, the most corrupt countries have low income levels. (Svenson, 2005; Ugur & Dasgupta, 2011) Ethiopia obviously falls well in this category of low income and developing countries.
My study was conducted under this theoretical framework which states that corruption is likely to be high in the country as it is undergoing political transition. It follows that higher corruption is one of the hindering factors for effective local service delivery including title deeds registration and transfer services of municipalities.
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Figure 1.1 Political transition and corruption. A flow chart developed based on theories regarding corruption, political transition and economic status of countries. (Svenson, 2005; Ugur & Dasgupta, 2011)
1.5 OPERATIONAL DEFNITIONS
CORRUPTION: There is no universally agreed definition for corruption. However, multiple sources agree that it involves misuse or abuse of public or private office for one’s personal gains. It can also be defined as impairment of integrity, virtue and moral principles for private gains. (Okech,2016; Van der Molen, and Tuladhar, 2006; Gibbons, K. M.,1989) Corruption occurs in a number of ways and thus there are some related terms which will be defined below:
BRIBERY: Bribery is defined as an act of abuse of discretion in favor of third party in exchange of benefits given by the third party. Bribery involves the promise, offering or giving a benefit that improperly affects or intends to affect the actions or decisions of a public official (Okech,2016).
FRAUD: Fraud involves actions or behavior by a public official, other person or entity that fool others in to providing a benefit that would not normally accrue to the public official, other person or entity(Akongdit, A. A. O. 2013).
EXTORTION: Involves coercing a person or entity to provide a benefit to a public official, another person or entity in exchange for acting or failing to act in a particular manner(Akongdit, A. A. O. 2013).
FAVOURTISM: involves the provision of services or resources according to personal affiliations of a public official. Related to this is nepotism, which entails a public official ensuring that family members are appointed to public service positions or that family members are awarded contracts in a preferential way.
LAND ADMINISTRATION: the process of determining, recording and disseminating information about ownership, value and use of land.
It is assumed that the current administrative setting of the town will remain intact for the foreseeable future. This enables the research to be conducted as planned and by contacting service seekers at the premises of the town municipality. As corruption is a hot topic under the current reform, assumption is made that respondents would be willing to speak out their mind in matters relevant to service quality and constraints they were facing including being extorted or being asked to get their issues handled through middlemen.
Another important assumption is that town administration other relevant government organs will be available to discuss some points related to service quality and challenges facing them in addressing the challenges. It is assumed that Sebata land administration is one of the most corruption ridden sectors in the municipality.
1.7 SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS
The study was undertaken in the municipality of Sebeta. It gave a particular focus to land title deeds registration and transfer processes of the land administration department. According to a household survey by FEACC (2014), land sector is the second most corrupt sector preceded only by customs. Due to this there is a widespread public complaint about service delivery in this sector. This implies that thorough research in to causes and consequences of corruption and its impact on service delivery needs to be undertaken by interviewing concerned stakeholders. However, as an academic study undertaken in an environment of constrained time and other resources, the scope of this study was limited to a portion of services rendered at the municipality. Thus, it cannot address the wider horizons of other services and goods offered by the municipality. It intends to assess the nexus between corruption and service delivery in the title deeds registration and transfer activities at the municipality.
1.8 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study will shed light on the level of corruption in land title deeds registration and transfer services of Sebeta municipality. This will help the municipality to develop policy aimed towards curbing corruption and mismanagement. It will also contribute in raising public awareness on issues of corruption in municipality services. Furthermore, it will add to literature on corruption in the field of public administration. New ideas obtained will enhance the study of public administration.
REVIEW OF RELATED LITRATURE
2.1 INTRODUCTION AND THEORETICAL LITRATURE
Corruption is defined as the exercise of official powers against public interest or the abuse of public office for private gains. It can also be defined as impairment of integrity, virtue and moral principles for private gains. (Okech,2016; Van der Molen, and Tuladhar, 2006; Gibbons, K. M.,1989) Corruption is not manifested in one single form. It typically takes at least four broad forms:
1. Petty, administrative, or bureaucratic corruption. Many corrupt acts are isolated transactions by individual public officials who abuse their office by demanding bribes and kickbacks, diverting public funds, or awarding favors in return for personal considerations. Such acts are often referred to as petty corruption, even though, in the aggregate, a substantial amount of public resources may be involved.
2. Grand corruption. The theft or misuse of vast amounts of public resources by state officials usually members of, or people associated with, the political or administrative elite constitutes grand corruption.
3. State or regulatory capture and influence peddling. State capture is the collusion by private actors with public officials or politicians for their mutual, private benefit. In this form of corruption, the private sector captures the state legislative, executive, and judicial apparatus for its own purposes. State capture coexists with the conventional (and opposite) view of corruption, in which public officials extort or otherwise exploit the private sector for private ends.
4. Patronage, paternalism, clientelism, and being a team player. Corruption occurs when officials use their official position to aid clients or colleagues with the same geographic, ethnic, or cultural origin so that they receive preferential treatment in their dealings with the public sector, including public sector employment (Shah, A., 2007).
Public sector corruption is a symptom of failed governance. Governance is defined as the norms, traditions, and institutions by which power and authority in a country are exercised (Shah 2007). Concern about corruption is as old as the history of government. In 350 BCE, Aristotle suggested in The Politics, “To protect the treasury from being defrauded, let all money be issued openly in front of the whole city, and let copies of the accounts be deposited in various wards.” Public sector corruption, as a symptom of failed governance, depends on a multitude of factors, such as the quality of public sector management, the nature of accountability relations between the government and citizens, the legal framework, and the degree to which public sector processes are accompanied by transparency and dissemination of information. Efforts to address corruption that fail to adequately account for these underlying drivers are unlikely to generate profound and sustainable results (Shah 2007).
Uslaner (2008) argues in his inequality thesis of corruption that corruption stems from high inequality and low trust in other people. High inequality leads to low trust and thus to high corruption, which in turn leads to more inequality. According to Rothstein(2011), You and Khagram (2005), corruption rests up on the foundation of unfairness. Perceptions of fair treatment lies at the heart of how people see grand corruption but only in relatively equal societies. In unequal societies, people do not expect fair treatment. They do not see corruption as acceptable, but as inevitable and beyond their control. Inequality demoralizes people and leads them to believe that they are not masters of their own fate. In societies with more equitable distributions of resources, people have greater expectations of fairness. They presume that unfair treatment is more than simply wrong. It represents a violation of the integrity of the governmental system. Inequality breeds corruption by: (1) leading ordinary citizens to see the system as stacked against them (Uslaner, 2002); (2) creating a sense of dependency of ordinary citizens and a sense of pessimism for the future, which in turn undermines the moral dictates of treating your neighbors honestly; and (3) distorting the key institutions of fairness in society, the courts, which ordinary citizens see as their protectors against evil-doers, especially those with more influence than they have ( You and Khagram, 2005).
Corruption gives some people advantages that others do not have. Corruption transfers resources from the mass public to the elites – and generally from the poor to the rich (Tanzi, 1998). It acts as an extra tax on citizens, leaving less money for public expenditures (Mauro, 1997). Corrupt governments have less money to spend on their own projects, pushing down the salaries of public employees. In turn, these lower level staffers will be more likely to extort funds from the public purse. Government employees in corrupt societies will thus spend more time lining their own pockets than serving the public. With less money in the public purse, key services will not be provided to those who need them most – the poor. The wealthy can find ways to obtain these services, but the poor may face demands for bribes they cannot afford – or even have to go without. (Uslaner, 2011)
moralists view corruption as an immoral and unethical phenomenon that contains a set of moral aberrations from moral standards of society, causing loss of respect for and confidence in duly constituted authority. Moralists further observe that corrupt practice stems from the social norms that emphasize gift-giving and loyalty to family or clan, rather than the rule of law (Motional & Jackman, 2002). However, the functionalists differ from the moralists in their view of corruption. They say that corruption plays an important role in the operation of public sector establishments in such a way that it can boost the activities of the establishment thereby achieving the optimal efficiency (Khan, 1996). According to the publication of Johnston (Johnston, 1986), functionalists point to possible benefits of corruption, suggesting that it can speed up cumbersome procedures, buy political access for the excluded, and perhaps even produce de facto policies more effective than those emerging from legitimate channels.
In analyzing corruption, the theory involving the patron-client relationship is another popular theory. This theory analyses the corruption by exploring the nature of the political system and the role of administration in the emerging economies. This theory is predominantly used by economists and political scientists. According to this theory, the functionality of the public-sector establishments and related systems in place is eclipsed by the active informal networks developed by the relationship between the patron and the client. According to Khan, (1996), opportunities like jobs and resources are created by the patron (who can be a civil servant or politician) who expects the cooperation or support (for example, in the form of attendance at the meetings or votes). This paves the way for the creation of network comprising of patrons and their sub-patrons, clients, middlemen.
Systemic corruption is deep-rooted and pervasive which happens in a routine manner within and between the companies, public sector establishments, or individuals is called systemic corruption (Bank, W., 1997). Sporadic corruption, on the contrary, is the opposite of systemic corruption, where it occurs at times. Hence, there is no threat to economy or mechanism for control in this type of corruption. However, it might cripple the resources of the economy. Political corruption is manipulation of policies, institutions and rules of procedure in the allocation of resources and financing by political decision-makers, who abuse their position to sustain their power, status and wealth. Political corruption is characterized by voting irregularities, nepotism and cronyism, rule of a few, false political promises, paying journalists for favorable coverage of candidates and parties influencing voters by the distribution of money, food and drink, holding on to power against the will of the people (Kandukuri, 2015).
The quality of public sector institutions plays a critical role in access to and costs of the public services provided by a government to its citizens. Poor governance can affect public service delivery, both directly through higher price, and indirectly through lower quality or quantity available. When seeking a public service, some users may be discriminated against and pay more than what is officially set due to corruption. Many civil servants also illegally increase their compensation by providing services to interest groups that seek favors from the government. Political coalitions seeking ways to subvert the existing rules to redistribute national income and wealth in their favor can achieve their objectives by bribing civil servants whose job is to enforce state regulations and implement national development plans (Mbaku, J.M.,1996).
Low civil service pay has been widely accepted as an important contributing factor for corruption. Scholars point to a strong negative relationship between the level of civil service salaries and incidences of corruption. They contend that poorly paid civil servants are more vulnerable to venality and prone to illicit and unethical rent-seeking, as suggested by the fact that less-developed countries often top the list of most corrupt nations (Rijckeghem & Weder 2001 as cited in Gong T. & Wu A. M., 2012). Another underlying condition leading to corruption is feeling of relative deprivation. When individuals feel that they have been unjustly deprived of something perceived as an entitlement, they may develop negative self-feelings that may result in socially unacceptable behavior or foster the conditions underlying emergence of corruption (Kulik, Fallon and Salimath, 2008 as cited in Gong T. & Wu A. M., 2012). Corruption can be categorized based on the economic status of the perpetrator. A corrupt act is need driven when grossly underpaid low-level officials accept bribes to pay for basic necessities, such as food or schooling for their children. Alternatively, corruption can be attributed to the insatiable greed of individuals for wealth (Gong T. & Wu A. M., 2012). Greed-driven corruption is more apparent in corruption cases of well-paid officials in higher level positions, as they do not count on bribery for survival. There are several contending theories in the study of corruption and its impact on public service delivery
According to Granovetter (2004), classical theories of corruption are dominated by economic treatments that focus on identifying structures of incentives that make corruption likely and assessing the impact of corruption on economic efficiency. The prominent theory in this perspective is the incentive theory or the principal-agent relationship. This theory states that there are a supervisory principal and an agent. The principal-agent approach finds its origins in theories of the firm, where the classic principal was the investor who had little confidence in the stockbroker. A principal-agent problem stems from two assumptions: principal and agent have diverging interests and that the agent has more information than the principal due to information asymmetry. Due to asymmetric information, the principal is unable to perfectly monitor the actions of the agent, and so the agent has some discretion to pursue their own interests. Moral hazard occurs when the interests of the principal and the agent are not aligned, and the agent pursues their own interests at the expense of the interests of the principal and hence the problem. (Marquette & Peiffer, 2015; Ross, 1973; Harris & Raviv, 1979). The application of principal-agent theory to the issue of corruption has taken for granted that principals have the will to serve the functions of monitoring and keeping agents to account.
In the terminology of principal-agent theory, transparency is one of the instruments available to a principal for controlling that its agent does not engage in shirking , i.e. activities which promote its own interests rather than the interests of the principal. Principal-agent models usually assume that the information asymmetry about agent’s actions in its own advantage are prohibitively costly to eliminate completely, but that the more they are reduced the less room there will be for shirking and the more efficient will be the delegation (Miller 2005). In the principal-agent theory, the only party with an intention of getting corrupt is the agent while the principal is considered a victim of entrusting their matters to the agent. Added to this, the wider public is symbolized as principals while the civil servants are considered agents who are prone to use access to information they have in pursuit of their personal gains at a cost to the public.
A contrasting theory considers corruption as a product of collective action. Collective action theory highlights the relevance to individuals’ decisions of group dynamics, including trust in others and the (actual or perceived) behavior of others. When corruption is seen as ‘normal’, people may be less willing to abstain from corruption or to take the first step in implementing sanctions or reforms. (Marquette &Peiffer, 2015). This study holds the position that corruption in land administration in present day Ethiopia is as a result of collective action. Service seekers believe that their cases can easily be processed if they paid some facilitation money and officers responsible for availing those services tend to believe that their equals do accept such payments and they should not be left out. Land sector is also infested with systematically interconnected chain of brokers and middlemen whose task is to convince service seekers to pay informal facilitation fees so as to get their matters processed fast. That is why we are not witnessing any observable decrease in prevalence of corruption despite establishment of anti-corruption chapters in some of corruption prone sectors and locations.
2.2 EMPIRICAL FINDINGS ON CORRUPTION AND SERVICE DELIVERY
The following empirical findings are in line with the theoretical literature on public service provision and bad governance including corruption. The price and the level of public services provided are affected by the presence of corruption (Shleifer and Vishny, 1993) Added to this, more widespread corruption translates into higher prices and reduced offering of public services. At the same time, corruption can reduce government revenues, in turn eroding the quality of the services provided (Bearse, Gloom and Janeba, 2000; as cited in Kaufmann, Montoriol-Garriga & Recanatini, 2008). Furthermore, corruption within the public sector can lead to lower investment in human capital (Ehrlich and Lui, 1999). This in turn may lead to a ‘vicious circle’ (Alesina, 1999), in which users choose not to use publicly provided services, further reducing a country’s tax base and its ability to improve the quality of the services. Bribery can affect service delivery indirectly, by limiting the quantity of service available or reducing its quality. For basic services, poor governance affects low-income citizens more than high-income ones. Such regressive effect appears to be significant especially for the most basic public services, like water, police, hospitals, schools, and municipal services. (Kaufmann, Montoriol-Garriga & Recanatini, 2008).
- Quote paper
- Olani Dilba (Author), 2019, Assessment of corruption on title deeds registration and transfer services of Sebeta, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/495225