What Does Cross-National Empirical Research Reveal About The Causes of Corruption?

Authored by: Daniel Treisman

Routledge Handbook of Political Corruption

Print publication date:  January  2015
Online publication date:  December  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415617789
eBook ISBN: 9781315739175
Adobe ISBN: 9781317575931


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During the past fifteen years, empirical studies of corruption – understood as the misuse of public office for private gain – have mushroomed. The main impetus has been the publication of cross-national indexes of ‘perceived corruption’, first by the organisation Transparency International and then by a team of economists at the World Bank. These ratings aggregate the assessments of international risk analysts, business executives, other experts and survey respondents from the countries in question. Scholars have found that higher perceived corruption, measured in this way, correlates with a variety of plausible explanatory factors.

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