Quarterly Journal of Political Science > Vol 13 > Issue 3

Who is Targeted in Corruption? Disentangling the Effects of Wealth and Power on Exposure to Bribery

Amanda Lea Robinson, The Ohio State University, USA, robinson.1012@osu.edu Brigitte Seim, University of North Carolina, USA, bseim@ad.unc.edu
 
Suggested Citation
Amanda Lea Robinson and Brigitte Seim (2018), "Who is Targeted in Corruption? Disentangling the Effects of Wealth and Power on Exposure to Bribery", Quarterly Journal of Political Science: Vol. 13: No. 3, pp 313-331. http://dx.doi.org/10.1561/100.00017067

Published: 30 Aug 2018
© 2018 A. L. Robinson and B. Seim
 
Subjects
Comparative political economy,  Comparative politics,  Political corruption,  Political economy,  Public administration,  Rule of law
 
Keywords
CorruptionbriberyinequalityMalawipolicepolitical connections
 

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In this article:
Citizen Characteristics and Exposure to Corruption
Police Corruption in Malawi
Research Design
Results
Conclusion
References

Abstract

Corrupt government officials must weigh the potential costs and benefits of soliciting a bribe using limited information about a citizen's ability to pay but also to punish. We conduct a field experiment in Malawi to determine the effects of political connections and socioeconomic status on a citizen's exposure to corruption at traffic police roadblocks. We find that political connections reduce exposure to bribery, while relative wealth only insulates citizens from corruption when wealth serves as a proxy for political power. These findings indicate that officials make strategic decisions about when to engage in corruption, disproportionately targeting the politically powerless.

DOI:10.1561/100.00017067