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SPP 502

Author: Caryn Peiffer and Richard Rose
Description: By contrast with generalisations about corruption being pervasive in Africa, empirical studies show that some citizens pay bribes for public services while others do not. Three theoretical explanations for variations—differences in national context, individual attributes and public services—are tested herein with Afrobarometer data from 17 countries. We find that major differences tend to be due to differences in individual attributes and between public services. Social and political capital and perceptions of the system as corrupt significantly influence the payment of bribes, whereas believing bribery is morally wrong does not. The degree of poverty is particularly important in bribes for services such as health and education rather than services that are a state monopoly, such as police and permits. The findings suggest that the reduction of bribery has more chance of succeeding by altering features of public services than by appealing to citizens and public officials to change their beliefs.

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Postal Address:    CSPP Publications, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, G1 1XQ, UK

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CSPP School of Government & Public Policy U. of Strathclyde Glasgow G1 1XQ Scotland