09, 28, 2012
Political Corruption in Central America: Assessment and Explanation
Political corruption is indisputably a hindering factor for growth in Central American countries. In some such as Honduras and Nicaragua there is a more distinguishable amount than in others, say Panama and Costa Rica. In this analysis, Dr. Mark Ruhl goes over two different types of corruption in the political arena in Central American countries. Grand corruption involving senior officials, and petty corruption dealing with lower-level functionaries. The precise measure of corruption, he notes, is very difficult to find out. An anticorruption NGO called Transparency International (TI), the collaboration of the World’s Bank corruption control Index (WBCC) and the AmericasBarometer (LAPOP), joined forces in gathering data from government officials and civilians in order to compare the countries level of corruption. Costa Rica and Panama have the lowest levels of grand and petty corruption, whereas Nicaragua and Honduras have the most.
Ruhl’s overall argument is that high level (Grand) corruption tends to be highest in nations that have compromised judicial systems, and lowest where judges are independent. Lower level (petty) corruption is most common in countries where the burden of bureaucratic red tape is strongest, and lower where administrative procedures are higher. Grand corruption is less prominent in countries that are economically more developed than others. A country with high GDP per capita means a stronger middle class, which in turn provides a strong civil society that is more resistant to the tempation engaging in bribery, embezzlements or nepotism. He goes about basing his information on results drawn from the Corruption Perception Index (CPI). The CPI is a gathering of 13 surveys done by 11 different institutions that assess the extent of corruption in countries such as the ones in Central America. There is much debate about the validity and reliability...