Although there are scholars who show that “greasing the wheels” can have efficiency improving outcomes, the general consensus is that corruption produces adverse effects: Rent seeking and corruption have significant social costs that divert valuable resources from productive activities; corruption distorts policy through restrictions on political and economic activity that create barriers to long-term growth; and corruption breaks down society’s trust in institutions, which can deter civic engagement and provide disincentives for productive activity.
What we are less sure about are the exact causes of corruption. Scholars have certainly looked in many places. Some have focused on societal factors (religion, ethno-linguistic fractionalization, identity of colonizer), economic factors (GDP per capita, trade openness, regulatory burden), and, increasingly, political factors.
In the last category, democracy seems to have attracted most of the attention because of the expectation that increased competition among political actors serves as a system of checks and balances against abuse of power. Yet corruption occurs in democratic systems too. Even the EU, where liberalization and increased societal integration should eliminate incentives for misuse of public office, struggles with the problem of corruption.
Other political factors such asfederalism, executive regime type, and electoral rules have also presented empirically mixed findings.
Yadav, V. (2011).Political Parties, Business Groups and Corruption in Developing Countries. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Reviewed by:Iva Bozovic, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Iva Bozovic (2012),Book Review: Political Parties, Business Groups and Corruption in Developing Countries,Comparative Political Studies2012 45: 1059