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Corruption in Arab countries: a grease or sand in the wheel of economic growth? a panel smooth transition regression approach

Reda Hamza Boudjana
Samer Mehibel
Lilia Samy


The relationship between corruption and economic growth has long been dealt with in the literature. Yet, no consensus has been drawn about the way how corruption might affect economic growth. This paper aims at revisiting the relationship between corruption and growth in the context of Arab countries using a panel threshold model with smooth transition (PSTR). The study covers 14 Arab countries over a period from 2007 to 2017. Our results show that the institutional quality variable divide the sample into two regimes. In the first regime (low institutional quality), reducing corruption risk hinders economic growth. The second regime (high institutional quality) stipulates that a lower risk of corruption will have a positive effect on economic growth. The results on a country basis reveal two heterogenous groups and one homogenous group in terms of hydrocarbons endowment: (1) Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon Sudan ,Syria and UEA are in favor of “grease in the wheels” hypothesis, (2) Bahrain, Kuwait, Morocco and Tunisia demonstrate “the sand in the wheel” hypothesis and (3) Oman, Saudi Arabia and Qatar showed a strong support toward “the sand in the wheel” hypothesis.


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eISSN: 1012-0009
print ISSN: 2437-0568