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

  • Brown, David S.
  • Touchton, Michael
  • Whitford, Andrew
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    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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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal World Development.

    Volume (Year): 39 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 9 (September)
    Pages: 1516-1529

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:39:y:2011:i:9:p:1516-1529
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