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How Much Do Perceptions of Corruption Really Tell Us?

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  • Weber Abramo, Claudio

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Weber Abramo, Claudio, 2008. "How Much Do Perceptions of Corruption Really Tell Us?," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 2, pages 1-56.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:ifweej:6986
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.5018/economics-ejournal.ja.2008-3
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    File URL: https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/18016/1/economics_2008-3.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Naci Mocan, 2008. "What Determines Corruption? International Evidence From Microdata," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 46(4), pages 493-510, October.
    2. Dreher, Axel & Kotsogiannis, Christos & McCorriston, Steve, 2007. "Corruption around the world: Evidence from a structural model," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, pages 443-466.
    3. Kaufmann, Daniel & Kraay, Aart & Mastruzzi, Massimo, 2007. "Governance Matters VI: Aggregate and Individual Governance Indicators, 1996-2006," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4280, The World Bank.
    4. Dreher, Axel & Kotsogiannis, Christos & McCorriston, Steve, 2007. "Corruption around the world: Evidence from a structural model," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, pages 443-466.
    5. Treisman, Daniel, 2000. "The causes of corruption: a cross-national study," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 399-457.
    6. Charles Oman & Christiane Arndt, 2006. "Governance Indicators for Development," OECD Development Centre Policy Insights 33, OECD Publishing.
    7. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Rajul Awasthi & Nihal Bayraktar, 2015. "Can tax simplification help lower tax corruption?," Eurasian Economic Review, Springer;Eurasia Business and Economics Society, vol. 5(2), pages 297-330, December.
    2. Jamie Bologna, 2014. "Is the Internet an effective mechanism for reducing corruption experience? Evidence from a cross-section of countries," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(10), pages 687-691, July.
    3. Singh, Sunny & Bhattacharya, Kaushik, 2015. "Does easy availability of cash effect corruption? Evidence from panel of countries," MPRA Paper 65934, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Nicholas Charron & Lewis Dijkstra & Victor Lapuente, 2015. "Mapping the Regional Divide in Europe: A Measure for Assessing Quality of Government in 206 European Regions," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 122(2), pages 315-346, June.
    5. Germana Corrado & Luisa Corrado & Giuseppe De Michele & Francesco Salustri, 2017. "Are Perceptions of Corruption Matching Reality? Theory and Evidence from Microdata," CEIS Research Paper 420, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 14 Dec 2017.
    6. repec:eee:ecosys:v:41:y:2017:i:2:p:236-247 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Corruption; perceptions; corruption indicators;

    JEL classification:

    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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