How to Subvert Democracy: Montesinos in Peru

By John McMillanPablo Zoido
2004| Working Paper No. 1851

Which of the democratic checks and balancesopposition parties, the judiciary, a free pressis the most critical? Peru has the full set of democratic institutions. In the 1990s, the secret-police chief Montesinos systematically undermined them all with bribes. We quantify the checks using the bribe prices. Montesinos paid television-channel owners about 100 times what he paid judges and politicians. One single television channels bribe was four times larger than the total of the opposition politicians bribes. By revealed preference, the strongest check on the governments power was the news media.

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