The Real State: Inside the Congo's Traffic Police Agency

Raul Sanchez de la Sierra (Chicago University)

September 14, 2023, 11:00–12:30

Room Auditorium 5


Leveraging relationships built over three years, we analyze the organization of corruption in one setting: Kinshasa's commissariat of the Congo's traffic police agency. The manager of each police station posts teams of police agents to the street and, in exchange for the right to collect bribes, demands from each team to escort a quota of vehicles to the station, where the manager takes a bribes himself. We design six data collection branches in one of its two battalions during one month and we experimentally decrease the quota in randomly selected team-days. First, using a random sample of untreated team-days, we document that of the bribe revenue, which is fourfold that from fines, 63\% is generated through the quota. Second, we find that the quota worsens the agency's first mandate---prevention of congestion and accidents---while not improving its second---deterrence of noncompliance to the driving code. Third, using the experiment, we discuss the conditions under which such systems may spread and may be especially costly. The findings emphasize that the manager's demand for bribes can be significant and can distort incentives above and beyond the distortions that are created by individual state officials' corruption.


Raul Sanchez de la Sierra (Chicago University), The Real State: Inside the Congo's Traffic Police Agency, Social and Behavioral Sciences Seminar, September 14, 2023, 11:00–12:30, room Auditorium 5.