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Bonding Social Capital and Corruption: A Cross-National Empirical Analysis

Listed author(s):
  • Donna Harris


    (Department of Land Economy, University of Cambridge, UK)

This paper considers the relationship between corruption and bonding social capital, which is characterised by high level of particularised trust and reciprocity amongst families and close friends. The main conjecture is that bonding social capital is likely to increase corruption and that it affects corruption not only directly, but also indirectly through other factors. Empirical results from the third wave of the World Value Survey confirm that bonding social capital leads to higher level of perceived corruption, particularly public and political corruption, when it discourages trust and cooperation towards outsiders. Bonding social capital also increases corruption indirectly by reducing opportunistic behaviour and imposing peer pressure on the ingroup members to reciprocate in a corrupt exchange i.e. to ‘return the favour’. This mechanism makes a corrupt transaction more predictable, i.e. increasing the confidence that the ‘goods’ will be delivered as promised and thus, leads to high level of corruption.

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Paper provided by University of Cambridge, Department of Land Economics in its series Environmental Economy and Policy Research Working Papers with number 27.2007.

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Date of creation: 2007
Date of revision: 2007
Handle: RePEc:lnd:wpaper:200727
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