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Political land corruption: evidence from Malta – the European Union’s smallest member state

  • Paul Caruana-Galizia (a1) and Matthew Caruana-Galizia (a2)

Political corruption in the land sector is pervasive, but difficult to document and effectively prosecute. This article provides new evidence on political land corruption in Malta, the European Union’s smallest member state and one of the world’s most densely populated countries. It shows how the country’s highly restrictive zoning laws, along with a de jure independent regulator, have created opportunities for extensive and endemic corruption in the granting of land development permits in zones that are outside development. It provides an example of governments creating institutions as rent-collection instruments – not to correct market failures, but to create opportunities for corruption. The unique underlying data set was collected through an automated web-scraping program as the regulator first turned down then ignored freedom of information requests for the data.

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Journal of Public Policy
  • ISSN: 0143-814X
  • EISSN: 1469-7815
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