Corruption and social values: do postmaterialists justify bribery?
AbstractUsing World Values Survey data from dozens of countries around the world, this article analyzes the relationship between postmaterialist values and attitudes towards bribery in a multi-level framework. This is an inherently interesting and under-researched topic because the various propensities attributed to postmaterialism lead to conflicting expectations about how these values affect attitudes towards bribery. On one hand, the alleged tendency of postmaterialists towards impartiality should lead them to condemn bribery. On the other hand, condemning bribery is a social desirability issue and postmaterialists are known to be less susceptible to desirability pressures and more relaxed about norm deviations. From this point of view, postmaterialists might be more tolerant toward bribery. Reflecting these conflicting expectations, we obtain an ambivalent result, evident in an inverted U-shaped relationship: as we move from pure materialism to mixed positions, people tend to justify bribery more, but then moving from mixed positions to pure postmaterialism, people become again more dismissive of bribery. What is more, the demographic prevalence of postmaterialists in a country moderates these values’ effect on bribery: where postmaterialists are more prevalent, the disapproving effect on bribery outweighs the approving effect. This finding contributes to a better understanding of the pronounced negative correlation between corruption and postmaterialism at the country level and has some important implications.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Research University Higher School of Economics in its series HSE Working papers with number WP BRP 34/SOC/2014.
Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: 2014
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in WP BRP Series: Sociology / SOC, January 2013, pages 1-36
corruption; bribery; social values; postmaterialism; impartiality; norm deviations.;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
- A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
- K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
- Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2014-02-02 (All new papers)
- NEP-LAW-2014-02-02 (Law & Economics)
- NEP-SOC-2014-02-02 (Social Norms & Social Capital)
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