How a Supreme Court Anti-Bribery Decision Helped Create a Corporate Protection Racket

On June 27, 2016, the Supreme Court dramatically changed anticorruption law and enforcement in the United States. In McDonnell v. United States, the court reversed the corruption conviction of the former governor of Virginia and considerably constricted the legal definition of “bribery.” As a result, many corruption cases were decided in favor of defendants, and federal and state prosecutors declined to bring many anti-bribery cases that would have been filed pre-McDonnell.

McDonnell represents a unique, exogenous decrease in the probability of corruption enforcement in the United States. In a new paper, we argue that this decrease led … Read more