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How Much Do Perceptions of Corruption Really Tell Us?

  • Weber Abramo, Claudio
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    Regressions and tests performed on data from Transparency International Global Corruption Barometer (GCB) 2004 survey show that personal or household experience of bribery is not a good predictor of perceptions held about corruption among the general population. In contrast, perceptions about the effects of corruption correlate consistently among themselves. However, no consistent relationship between opinions about general effects and the assessments of the extent with which corruption affects the institutions where presumably corruption is materialized is found. Countries are sharply divided between those above and below the US$ 10,000 GDP per capita line in the relationships between variables concerning corruption. Among richer countries, opinions about institutions explain very well opinions concerning certain effects of corruption, while among poorer countries the explanatory power of institutions for the effects of corruption falls. Furthermore, tests for dependence applied between the variables in the sets of respondents for each of 60 countries also show that, for most of them, it is likely that experience does not explain perceptions. On the other hand, opinions tend to closely follow the trend of other opinions. Additionally, it is found that in the GCB opinions about general effects of corruption are strongly correlated with opinions about other issues. The correlation is so strong as to justify the hypothesis that it would suffice to measure the average opinion of the general public about human rights, violence etc. to accurately infer what would be the average opinion about least petty and grand corruption. The findings reported here challenge the value of perceptions of corruption as indications of the actual incidence of the phenomenon.

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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.5018/economics-ejournal.ja.2008-3
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    File URL: http://econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/18016/1/economics_2008-3.pdf
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    Article provided by Kiel Institute for the World Economy in its journal Economics: The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal.

    Volume (Year): 2 (2008)
    Issue (Month): ()
    Pages: 1-56

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    Handle: RePEc:zbw:ifweej:6986
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    1. Axel Dreher & Christos Kotsogiannis & Steve McCorriston, 2007. "Corruption Around the World: Evidence from a Structural Model," Discussion Papers 0702, Exeter University, Department of Economics.
    2. Treisman, Daniel, 2000. "The causes of corruption: a cross-national study," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 399-457, June.
    3. Kaufmann, Daniel & Kraay, Aart & Mastruzzi, Massimo, 2008. "Governance matters VII : aggregate and individual governance indicators 1996-2007," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4654, The World Bank.
    4. Naci Mocan, 2008. "What Determines Corruption? International Evidence From Microdata," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 46(4), pages 493-510, October.
    5. Tina Søreide, 2006. "Is it wrong to rank? A critical assessment of corruption indices," CMI Working Papers WP 2006: 1, CMI (Chr. Michelsen Institute), Bergen, Norway.
    6. Charles Oman & Christiane Arndt, 2006. "Governance Indicators for Development," OECD Development Centre Policy Insights 33, OECD Publishing.
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