Explaining Patterns of Corruption in the Russian Regions
Corruption is one of the key problems facing the Russian state as it seeks to evolve out of its socialist past. Naturally, regional patterns of corruption exist across a country as large and diverse as the Russian Federation. To explain these variations, we analyze 2002 data from Transparency International and the Information for Democracy Foundation that provides the first effort to measure differences in incidence of corruption across 40 Russian regions. We find that corruption in Russia primarily is a structural problem, and not one related to its institutions. Within each region, the amount of corruption increases as the size of the regional economy grows, the per capita income decreases, and the population decreases. Russian policymakers can therefore work to reduce corruption by encouraging economic development outside of the key centers of Moscow and St. Petersburg. Because the data show that voter turnout also lowers corruption, policymakers can also fight corruption by fostering more political accountability in elections.
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