Corruption and corporate innovation

Jesse Ellis, Jared Smith, Roger White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


We examine whether political corruption impedes innovation. Using a comprehensive sample of U.S. firms, we find that corruption has a substantial, negative relation with the quantity and quality of innovation. These results are robust to using various fixed effects, proxies for corruption and innovation, and subsamples. To establish causality, we employ 2 instruments for corruption: local ethnic diversity and the corruption of the state a firm's founder grew up in. Corruption appears to reduce innovation output both on average and for the most innovative firms. Overall, this evidence is consistent with the notion that corruption reduces social welfare by impeding innovation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2124-2149
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis
Issue number7
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics


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