Democratic advantages in corruption control. New Evidence from Anti-Corruption Cases across 154 Countries
Does democracy reduce corruption? While much recent research has focused on the ability of citizens in democracies to hold politicians accountable through regular elections, other institutional features of democracy such as a free press and independent civil society may also strengthen accountability by lowering the costs of monitoring and sanctioning malfeasance. Using an original dataset of high-profile corruption cases across 154 countries, I find a strong positive relationship between democratic institutions and anti-corruption enforcement. Moreover, this relationship obtains after restricting attention to states without free and fair elections, suggesting that even in countries where citizens cannot reliably exercise accountability through the ballot, liberalization of the civic sphere can help hold malfeasance in check.
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