Public Attitudes and Corruption


Eric Raile


Global Encyclopedia of Public Administration, Public Policy, and Governance


As much as any other, corruption (defined most simply as using public resources in inappropriate ways for private profit) is a phenomenon for which perception may be reality. The fascination of economists and political economists with corruption in the 1990s and very early 2000s waned as they decided they had thoroughly identified all the causes and consequences of corruption. Whether explicitly acknowledged or not, public opinion was often an important part of such research due to the frequent use of perception-based measures of corruption. After a lull of a few years, more conventional political scientists and public administration scholars began to advance the knowledge base about public attitudes and corruption. While interest never fully went away, the issue area is experiencing something of a rebirth in a different form. Researchers are not alone in producing new knowledge. Practitioners (particularly those working on anticorruption initiatives in governments) and the many nongovernmental organizations working on corruption issues around the world have contributed in significant ways to understanding, as well. Practitioners and advocates even have their own global meeting – the biennial International Anticorruption Conference (IACC).



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