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“Fairer Sex” or Purity Myth? Corruption, Gender, and Institutional Context

  • Justin Esarey (a1) and Gina Chirillo (a2)

Recent research finds that states with more women involved in government are also less prone to corruption (Dollar, Fisman, and Gatti 2001; Swamy et al. 2001). But a review of experimental evidence indicates that “women are not necessarily more intrinsically honest or averse to corruption than men” in the laboratory or in the field (Frank, Lambsdorff, and Boehm 2011, 68). Rather, the attitudes and behaviors of women concerning corruption depend on institutional and cultural contexts in these experimental situations (Alatas, Cameron, and Chaudhuri 2009; Alhassan-Alolo 2007; Armantier and Boly 2008; Schulze and Frank 2003). If women's inclination toward corruption is contextual, then what are the contexts in which we would expect female involvement in government to fight corruption? The answer is important to understand where gender equality initiatives present a cost-effective and politically feasible approach to cleaning up government.

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Politics & Gender
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