IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Corruption and Democracy


  • Michael T. Rock


What is the impact of democracy on corruption? In most models, analysts assume a negative relationship, with more democracy leading to less corruption. But recent theoretical developments and case evidence support an inverted U relationship between corruption and democracy. By drawing on a panel data set covering a large number of countries between 1996 and 2003, substantial empirical support is found for an inverted U relationship between democracy and corruption. The turning point in corruption occurs rather early in the life of new democracies and at rather low per capita incomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael T. Rock, 2007. "Corruption and Democracy," Working Papers 55, United Nations, Department of Economics and Social Affairs.
  • Handle: RePEc:une:wpaper:55

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Rajeev K. Goel & Michael A. Nelson, 2005. "Economic Freedom Versus Political Freedom: Cross-Country Influences On Corruption ," Australian Economic Papers, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(2), pages 121-133, June.
    2. Naci Mocan, 2008. "What Determines Corruption? International Evidence From Microdata," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 46(4), pages 493-510, October.
    3. La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert, 1999. "The Quality of Government," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 222-279, April.
    4. International Monetary Fund, 1997. "Corruption and the Rate of Temptation; Do Low Wages in the Civil Service Cause Corruption?," IMF Working Papers 97/73, International Monetary Fund.
    5. Mohtadi, Hamid & Roe, Terry L., 2003. "Democracy, rent seeking, public spending and growth," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(3-4), pages 445-466, March.
    6. Fisman, Raymond & Gatti, Roberta, 2002. "Decentralization and corruption: evidence across countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(3), pages 325-345, March.
    7. Treisman, Daniel, 2000. "The causes of corruption: a cross-national study," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 399-457, June.
    8. Rafael Di Tella & Alberto Ades, 1999. "Rents, Competition, and Corruption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 982-993, September.
    9. Ross Mcleod, 2005. "The struggle to regain effective government under democracy in Indonesia," Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(3), pages 367-386.
    10. Vedi Hadiz & Richard Robison, 2005. "Neo-liberal Reforms and Illiberal Consolidations: The Indonesian Paradox," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(2), pages 220-241.
    11. Reza Siregar, 2001. "Survey Of Recent Developments," Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(3), pages 277-303.
    12. repec:hrv:faseco:30747160 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Prema-Chandra Athukorala, 2002. "Survey Of Recent Developments," Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(2), pages 141-162.
    14. Paolo Mauro, 1995. "Corruption and Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(3), pages 681-712.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Dutta, Nabamita & Roy, Sanjukta, 2016. "The interactive impact of press freedom and media reach on corruption," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 227-236.
    2. Andreas Assiotis & Kevin Sylwester, 2015. "Does Democracy Promote The Rule Of Law?," Journal of Economic Development, Chung-Ang Unviersity, Department of Economics, vol. 40(1), pages 63-92, March.
    3. repec:gig:joupla:v:4:y:2012:i:3:p:67-95 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Libman, Alexander, 2008. "Democracy and growth: is the effect non-linear?," MPRA Paper 17795, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item


    corruption; electoral democracy; consolidated democracy; rule of law; government effectiveness;

    JEL classification:

    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • 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
    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:une:wpaper:55. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Aimee Gao). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.