Political Polarization as a Constraint on Government: Evidence from Corruption

14 Pages Posted: 25 Jul 2015

See all articles by David S. Brown

David S. Brown

University of Colorado at Boulder - Department of Political Science

Michael Touchton

Boise State University

Andrew B. Whitford

University of Georgia - Department of Public Administration and Policy

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: 2011

Abstract

Efforts to explain corruption have increased dramatically in recent years. The interest stems from the increasing weight economists assign to corruption when explaining economic growth. A great deal of the research focuses on how political institutions influence perceptions of corruption. We move this debate in a new direction by addressing a previously ignored dimension: ideological polarization. We contend perceptions of corruption are determined not only by specific institutional features of the political system — such as elements of voting systems, ballot structures, or separation of powers — but by who sits at the controls. We employ panel data from a broad variety of countries to test our theoretical argument. Contrary to recent findings by both economists and political scientists, we show that ideological polarization predicts perceptions of corruption.

Keywords: Corruption, Polarization, Development, Democracy

Suggested Citation

Brown, David S. and Touchton, Michael and Whitford, Andrew B., Political Polarization as a Constraint on Government: Evidence from Corruption (2011). World Development, Vol. 39, No. 9, 2011, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2635240

David S. Brown

University of Colorado at Boulder - Department of Political Science ( email )

333 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309-0333
United States

Michael Touchton (Contact Author)

Boise State University ( email )

Boise, ID 83725-1935
United States

Andrew B. Whitford

University of Georgia - Department of Public Administration and Policy ( email )

Athens, GA 30602
United States
706-542-2898 (Phone)
706-583-0610 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://andrewwhitford.com

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