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Corruption revisited: the influence of national personality, culture, and wealth


  • Martin Obschonka

    (University of Amsterdam)

  • Michael Stuetzer

    (Baden-Wuerttemberg Cooperative State University)

  • Alexander Newman

    (Deakin University
    University of Melbourne)

  • Cristina B. Gibson

    (Pepperdine University)

  • Samuel D. Gosling

    (University of Texas at Austin
    University of Melbourne)

  • Peter J. Rentfrow

    (University of Cambridge)

  • Jeff Potter

    (Atof Inc.)


Corruption is often seen as one of the root causes of pressing national and global challenges. The persisting stark national differences in corruption levels and their potential causes have thus attracted growing interest from international business scholars. The objective of this study was to re-examine key factors that predict levels of national corruption. Drawing on comprehensive personality data from over 5 million respondents across 87 nations, and numerous dimensions of national culture, the study examines the relative importance of national personality versus national culture and wealth as predictors of national corruption. Regression analysis found that collectivism (particularly societal practices pertaining to collectivism) and wealth were robust predictors of corruption. In contrast, there was no consistent support for the effects of the Big Five personality traits aggregated to the national level, above and beyond the effects of national culture and wealth. These findings highlight and specify the important role played by national culture, and call into question previous research on national personality and corruption. More broadly, our study further highlights the need to exert caution when examining the influence of national-level personality, and the need for cross-national personality researchers to improve the validity, interpretability, and replicability of their work.

Suggested Citation

  • Martin Obschonka & Michael Stuetzer & Alexander Newman & Cristina B. Gibson & Samuel D. Gosling & Peter J. Rentfrow & Jeff Potter, 2023. "Corruption revisited: the influence of national personality, culture, and wealth," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 54(8), pages 1577-1587, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:jintbs:v:54:y:2023:i:8:d:10.1057_s41267-023-00632-z
    DOI: 10.1057/s41267-023-00632-z

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    References listed on IDEAS

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