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Political Polarization as a Constraint on Corruption: A Cross-national Comparison


  • Brown, David S.
  • Touchton, Michael
  • Whitford, Andrew


Summary Efforts to explain corruption have increased dramatically in recent years. The interest stems from the increasing weight economists assign to corruption when explaining economic growth. A great deal of the research focuses on how political institutions influence perceptions of corruption. We move this debate in a new direction by addressing a previously ignored dimension: ideological polarization. We contend perceptions of corruption are determined not only by specific institutional features of the political system--such as elements of voting systems, ballot structures, or separation of powers--but by who sits at the controls. We employ panel data from a broad variety of countries to test our theoretical argument. Contrary to recent findings by both economists and political scientists, we show that ideological polarization predicts perceptions of corruption.

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  • Brown, David S. & Touchton, Michael & Whitford, Andrew, 2011. "Political Polarization as a Constraint on Corruption: A Cross-national Comparison," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(9), pages 1516-1529, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:39:y:2011:i:9:p:1516-1529

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Duvanova, Dinissa, 2014. "Economic Regulations, Red Tape, and Bureaucratic Corruption in Post-Communist Economies," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 298-312.
    2. Mickael Melki & Andrew Pickering, 2016. "Polarization and Corruption in America," Discussion Papers 16/09, Department of Economics, University of York.
    3. Michael Breen & Robert Gillanders & Gemma Mcnulty & Akisato Suzuki, 2017. "Gender and Corruption in Business," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 53(9), pages 1486-1501, September.
    4. B. Heller, William & P. Kyriacou, Andreas & Roca-Sagalés, Oriol, 2014. "Legislative Vetoes and Corruption: The Effect of Formal Checks on Governance," MPRA Paper 61651, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Van-Ha Le & Jakob de Haan & Erik Dietzenbacher, 2013. "Do Higher Government Wages Reduce Corruption? Evidence Based on a Novel Dataset," CESifo Working Paper Series 4254, CESifo Group Munich.
    6. Yuriy O. Gaivoronskiy, 2015. "The Influence of Political Competition on the Efficiency of the Regional Executives in Russia," HSE Working papers WP BRP 28/PS/2015, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
    7. Rune Sørensen, 2014. "Political competition, party polarization, and government performance," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 161(3), pages 427-450, December.
    8. repec:spr:qualqt:v:51:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s11135-016-0372-8 is not listed on IDEAS


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