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The causes of corruption: A cross-national study

Fall 2000

Daniel Treisman
Department of Political Science, University of California, Los Angeles, 4289 Bunche Hall, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1472, USA
Journal of Public Economics 76 (2000) 399–457

Why is corruption—the misuse of public office for private gain—perceived to be more widespread in some countries than others? Different theories associate this with particular historical and cultural traditions, levels of economic development, political institutions, and government policies. This article analyzes several indexes of "perceived corruption" compiled from business risk surveys for the 1980s and 1990s. Six arguments find support. Countries with Protestant traditions, histories of British rule, more developed economies, and (probably) higher imports were less "corrupt." Federal states were more "corrupt." While the current degree of democracy was not significant, long exposure to democracy predicted lower corruption.

Download: The causes of corruption: A cross-national study (PDF, 272.07 K)

Read More: Democracy, Governance, United Kingdom, Global

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