Political Corruption

Topics: Democracy, Government, Political corruption Pages: 12 (2392 words) Published: November 12, 2014
Jimmer Young
Zsuzsa Maygar
Political Science 6
17 March 2014
Corruption Research Project
Throughout the world, a fundamental truth that must be acknowledged is that our governments are plagued by corruption. This corruption is a pervasive force firmly entrenched across all societies. With that being said, not all governments were created equal. Corruption manifests itself in a multitude of manners causing some countries to be more corrupted than others. The chief focus of this paper is to examine corruption across the world and analyze the factors that create this issue. Using an array of data analysis techniques I will attempt to investigate governments across the world, and provide insight into the political and economic aspects of corruption.

Primarily, it is important to examine corruption in the world and how it differs from country to country. In order to do so, I will utilize the TI scale. Ranging from zero to ten, this scale is a metric that measures the extent of public sector corruption in countries. A score of ten indicates the least amount of corruption while a score of zero indicates the most amount of corruption. To provide a benchmark, the United States registers a 7.3 on the TI scale and Pakistan has a score of 2.8. Denmark and Finland prove to be the least corrupt countries with scores above 9 whereas Iraq and Haiti appear to be the most corrupt countries, registering less than 2 on the TI scale.

Consistent with the extreme range of the least and most corrupt countries, there is an extensive amount of variance amongst countries in between as well. Countries throughout the world register scores across all intervals of the TI scale. However, separating these governments by region provides perhaps the most blatant display of disparity in corruption. North America and Western Europe are clearly the least corrupt regions with average TI scores of over 7. Conversely, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East are the most corrupt areas. They range on the lower end of the scale with average TI scores of around 3. Asia and Eastern Europe fall somewhere in between, however it is interesting to not that Asia exhibits the most spread amongst all areas. Asia’s average score is not much higher than that of the most corrupt regions; yet it contains a few of the least corrupt governments as well. Throughout time, it appears that global corruption levels have remained stable. From 2004 to 2012, the range in which the data encompasses, there does not seem to be any significant rise or fall in corruption. Although regional corruption is slightly more dynamic, TI scores remain relatively stable in each region for the given time period.

After examining these governments throughout the world, I will now attempt to provide insight into the key factors that influence corruption. The first step in this process is analyzing the relationship between wealth and corruption. For the purposes of this paper, I will use Gross Domestic Product per capita as a means to gauge the wealth of each country. In doing so, it is clear that there is a correlation between GDP and corruption. Wealthier countries exhibit much less corruption than that of less economically developed countries. Although there are many factors that influence this relationship, one potential explanation is that higher GDP per capita is indicative of a strong economy. Nation’s with strong economies tend to be more stable, which in turn leads to less corruption.

In order to test this hypothesis, let us next examine how form of government affects corruption to determine the influence of politics versus economic factors. In the past century democratization has shaped the political atmosphere of our global society. Since the Cold War a wave of democracy has influenced the structure of governments throughout the world. Using the Polity IV scale, it is possible to measure what form of government exists in each country. This scale begins at -10...
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