Why is New Jersey so corrupt?

Filipe Campante and Quoc-Anh Do have a fascinating new working paper called “Isolated Capital Cities, Accountability and Corruption: Evidence from US States.”

They find strong evidence that states with geographically isolated capital cities are also more corrupt (we’re talking about you Albany, Annapolis, Jefferson City, Trenton, and Springfield).  On the other hand, they do not find evidence that isolation prevents political capture. They note that “isolated capitals are associated with more money in state-level campaigns…[and]…that isolation is linked with worse public good provision.”

In short, having an isolated capital city offers a triple whammy of bad repercussions: more corruption, less public good provision, and more capture.  Could this be a reason why autocratic rulers are so fond of building new capital cities in the boondocks?