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Determinants of change in the international fight against corruption: Do freedom of press and the executive composition matter?

Authors:

Vincent Zimmer ,

London School of Economics and Political Science UK; Kiron Open Higher Education, DE
About Vincent

MSc in Public Policy and Administration, Class of 2014, Managing Director and co-founder

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Britta Schünemann

Georg-August University of Göttingen, DE
About Britta

BSc in Psychology Class of 2015

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Abstract

This paper uses a cross-country panel to examine the determinants of change of corruption levels, paying particular attention to freedom of press and executive composition (parliamentary or presidential). The results are analysed in the theoretical perspective of collective action theory, which defines corruption as an equilibrium. The empirical evidence confirms previous results on the role of freedom of the press and parliamentary systems in determining the prevalence of corruption. In addition, the paper finds evidence of a significant interaction effect. If change of corruption is defined as the dependent variable, only the variables ‘freedom of press’ and ‘share of Protestants’ remain significant. This indicates that the focus of previous studies on causes of corruption might have to shift toward determinants of change. Referring to collective action theory, this paper argues that freedom of the press is able to shift the collective action equilibrium toward less corruption because it increases accountability and is exogenous to the equilibrium. Factors regarded as exogenous determinants of change might be even more important than their potential to foster radical change as suggested in previous studies.

How to Cite: Zimmer, V. and Schünemann, B., 2016. Determinants of change in the international fight against corruption: Do freedom of press and the executive composition matter?. The Public Sphere: Journal of Public Policy, 4(1), pp.175–208.
Published on 01 Jan 2016.
Peer Reviewed

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