The New York City administration announced last Friday that Indonesia was number three on its list of countries with unpaid parking tickets, with about $750,000 in unpaid fines.The city's department of finance said that unpaid tickets totalled $16.7 million through the end of July. Egypt topped the list with $1.9 million in unpaid tickets, followed by Nigeria with about $1 million, Reuters reported from New York.
We study cultural norms and legal enforcement in controlling corruption by analysing the parking behaviour of United Nations officials in Manhattan. Until 2002, diplomatic immunity protected UN diplomats from parking enforcement actions, so diplomats' actions were constrained by cultural norms alone. We find a strong effect of corruption norms: diplomats from high-corruption countries (on the basis of existing survey-based indices) accumulated significantly more unpaid parking violations. In 2002, enforcement authorities acquired the right to confiscate diplomatic license plates of violators. Unpaid violations dropped sharply in response. Cultural norms and (particularly in this context) legal enforcement are both important determinants of corruptions.