Putting TRAC to Work
  Legal and Scholarly
Mercatus Working Paper, Mercatus Center, George Mason University
February 2015

Donít Blame the Weather: Federal Natural Disaster Aid and Public Corruption
By Adriana Cordis and Jeff Milyo

Adriana Cordis and Jeff Milyo (TRAC Fellows) conduct analysis using a new dataset obtained from the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), a research organization affiliated with Syracuse University. The TRAC database contains records on all publicly available criminal cases in federal courts, including offenses by federal, state, and local public employees for official misconduct or misuse of office. These data can be disaggregated down to the individual case level, making it possible to analyze corruption by referrals, convictions, and penalties imposed, and to segment convictions by type of charge, type of public official, and geogaphic district. The ability to do so allows us to test the Leeson and Sobel(2008) hypothesis using convictions for FEMA, state, and local officials(i.e., using a convictions series that excludes all non-FEMA federal officials). Not only is this aspect of the TRAC data important for our analysis, it will likely be a boon for future empirical research on the causes and consequences of public corruption......[Citing TRAC research].

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
Copyright 2015
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