Monday, April 10, 2006

Nigeria stamps out another functioning market!

Evidently, the apple in Nigeria doesn't fall far from the tree. In short, Nigerian soccer refs can now accept bribes from clubs so long as it doesn't change how they would otherwise call the game. It seems like an implicit admission that the soccer bribery market was functioning quite well. Considering Nigeria's place in the murky depths of the Economic Freedom Index, the elimination of any functioning market is something that Nigeria seems to have down pat.

My take on this is that rent-seeking breeds rent-seeking. Nigeria finds itself near the bottom of every corruption index I can find; here is one from the Kurtzman Group; here's another one from Transparency International. If you're in a corrupt regime for long enough, you come to learn that the only way to get what you want is via rent-seeking. Granted, the incentive to follow the shaky rules isn't there, but if the MLS were suddenly imposed on Nigeria, would the bribing refs suddenly stop? Not likely.

Real Madrid looks to improve their team with better players; sure enough, the institutions within la Liga are much more sound. The cost of bribing a Spanish ref, considering the punishment, would be far higher than in Africa. The question is this: If Real Madrid were to play one match against a Nigerian club in Lagos, would they partake in bribing the refs?

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