Political Polarization as a Constraint on Government: Evidence from Corruption
14 Pages Posted: 25 Jul 2015
Date Written: 2011
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
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