Corruption in the Commons: Why Bribery Hampers Enforcement of Environmental Regulations in South African Fisheries
Few studies have explored on the micro-level why corruption hampers environmental regulations. The relationship between corruption and regulatory compliance is here investigated through confidential in-depth interviews with South African small-scale fishermen. Respondents describe how the expected behavior of inspectors and other resource users to ask for or accept bribes are vital in their compliance decisions. The interviews also shed some light on the puzzling role of trust and trustworthiness of public officials. While resource users often knows inspectors personally – and uphold discretion necessary for bribery to continue – they depict them as dishonest and describe how corrupt acts decrease their trustworthiness. The findings from the South African case illustrate the importance of curbing both grand and petty corruption to increase the effectiveness of regulations in natural resource management.
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