While drivers in Greece can't legally buy custom vanity plates for their cars and their ego and show off both of them, they can get them from an underground market in what a university report called “conspicuous corruption.”
That was the finding by researchers Panos Louridas and Diomidis Spinellis of the Athens University of Economics and Business as reported in the open-access journal PLOS ONE, said Eurasia Review.
They said the black market is to buy the license plates with distinctive number patterns, using a statistical analysis to test a subjective observation that the plates, such as those repeating numbers, appeared more often on luxury cars than would be expected from a random process.
The practice apparently is limited to numbers and not words such as in the United States where people who want to strut their stuff – on their cars – have vanity plates that range from the ridiculous to the sublime, such as IAMLATE.
The researchers said it's an open secret in Greece that the plates can be gotten by bribery or why people would want repeating numbers whose reason is known only to them.
They said it's apparently because the purchasers want to show their status and ability to corrupt the system and that they “know the ropes” and are above the laws they think are only for others.
It's not expensive to get them either, they said, if you know the right people although it wasn't said in what department they work or why there hasn't been a crackdown although corruption in Greece is almost as common as tax evasion.
The authors add: “Based on a large scale, country-level, investigation of vehicle license plates in Greece, (we) find evidence of a phenomenon they call 'Conspicuous Corruption:' flaunting an illicitly acquired good, in this instance vanity plates, to display status.” SHOWOFF.