Perceptions of Corruption as Distrust? Cause and Effect in Attitudes towards Government
Steven Van de Walle
Erasmus University Rotterdam - Department of Public Administration
January 1, 2008
ETHICS AND INTEGRITY AND THE POLITICS OF GOVERNANCE, Huberts, L., Jurkiewicz, C., Maesschalck, J., eds., pp. 215-236, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2008
In this paper we criticise the use of general perceptions of corruption as indicators for actual corruption. We show that citizens' perceptions of corruption are embedded in general attitudes towards government, and that, therefore, these subjective indicators may be merely measuring the administration's image, and not its actual functioning. Many of the frequently used corruption indicators are of a subjective nature. They often do not rely on an experiential basis, and leave considerable freedom to respondents whether to take certain aspects into account. This creates problems of comparability, and invites respondents to broaden their frame of reference to whatever factor they wish when giving an opinion on corruption. We use data collected in Belgium (Flanders) in 2003. The "Working on Government III" mail survey (n=3168) was organised by the Public Management Institute, and commissioned by the ministry of the Flemish Community. It focused on citizens' perceptions of public services, civil servants and government.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 30
Keywords: corruption, perceptions of government, public opinion
JEL Classification: D73
Date posted: November 26, 2008
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