Hostname: page-component-f7d5f74f5-4fqgl Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2023-10-03T04:30:53.473Z Has data issue: false Feature Flags: { "corePageComponentGetUserInfoFromSharedSession": true, "coreDisableEcommerce": false, "coreDisableSocialShare": false, "coreDisableEcommerceForArticlePurchase": false, "coreDisableEcommerceForBookPurchase": false, "coreDisableEcommerceForElementPurchase": false, "coreUseNewShare": true, "useRatesEcommerce": true } hasContentIssue false

Sources of Corruption: A Cross-Country Study

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 December 2001

Department of Political Science, University of California, Davis
Department of Political Science, University of California, Davis


Why is government corruption more pervasive in some societies than in others? In this article we examine public choice explanations that attribute corruption to a lack of competition in either political or economic arenas or both. The principal part of our analysis draws on recently-published data about levels of corruption for a broad cross-section of countries reported for the early 1980s. We supplement this with an additional analysis of a second dataset on corruption measured during the late 1980s. Our analyses confirm that political competition affects level of corruption, but this effect is nonlinear. Corruption is typically lower in dictatorships than in countries that have partially democratized. But once past a threshold, democratic practices inhibit corruption. However, we obtained mixed results with respect to the relationship of economic competition and corruption: government size does not systematically affect corruption, but membership of the Oil Producing and Exporting Countries (OPEC) does. Finally, corruption is more pervasive in low-income countries which tend to underpay public sector employees.

Research Article
© 2002 Cambridge University Press

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)