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Corruption and Confidence in Public Institutions: Evidence from a Global Survey


  • Bianca Clausen
  • Aart Kraay
  • Zsolt Nyiri


Well-functioning institutions matter for economic development. In order to operate effectively, public institutions must also inspire confidence in those they serve. We use data from the Gallup World Poll, a unique and very large global household survey, to document a quantitatively large and statistically significant negative correlation between corruption and confidence in public institutions. This suggests an important indirect channel through which corruption can inhibit development: by eroding confidence in public institutions. This correlation is robust to the inclusion of a large set of controls for country and respondent-level characteristics. Moreover we show how it can plausibly be interpreted as reflecting at least in part a causal effect from corruption to confidence. Finally, we provide evidence that individuals with low confidence in institutions exhibit low levels of political participation, show increased tolerance for violent means to achieve political ends, and have a greater desire to “vote with their feet” through emigration. Copyright , Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Bianca Clausen & Aart Kraay & Zsolt Nyiri, 2011. "Corruption and Confidence in Public Institutions: Evidence from a Global Survey," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 25(2), pages 212-249.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:wbecrv:v:25:y:2011:i:2:p:212-249

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    References listed on IDEAS

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