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Gender and Corruption: The Neglected Role of Culture

Author

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  • Julia Debski
  • Michael Jetter
  • Saskia Mösle
  • David Stadelmann

Abstract

Empirical findings of a negative association between female participation in politics and the labor market, and levels of corruption have received great attention. We reproduce this correlation for 177 countries from 1998 to 2014. Once taking account of country-specific heterogeneity by fixed effects, the negative association disappears entirely in terms of statistical significance and magnitude. This suggests that female participation in politics and the labor market is not directly linked to lower corruption. Exploiting different dimensions of culture as country-specific characteristics, our analysis shows that power distance and masculinity systematically affect corruption. These two cultural characteristics are sufficient to fully mitigate any association between gender and corruption. Our findings point out the importance of culture and suggest that its omission causes a spurious correlation, leading to the erroneous claim that increased female participation in public life alone reduces corruption.

Suggested Citation

  • Julia Debski & Michael Jetter & Saskia Mösle & David Stadelmann, 2016. "Gender and Corruption: The Neglected Role of Culture," CREMA Working Paper Series 2016-05, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
  • Handle: RePEc:cra:wpaper:2016-05
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Gender; corruption; female participation; power distance; culture; development;

    JEL classification:

    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
    • Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General

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