Perceptions of Corruption as Distrust? Cause and Effect in Attitudes towards Government

ETHICS AND INTEGRITY AND THE POLITICS OF GOVERNANCE, Huberts, L., Jurkiewicz, C., Maesschalck, J., eds., pp. 215-236, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2008

30 Pages Posted: 26 Nov 2008  

Steven Van de Walle

KU Leuven - Department of Political Science; Erasmus University Rotterdam - Department of Public Administration

Date Written: January 1, 2008

Abstract

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.

Keywords: corruption, perceptions of government, public opinion

JEL Classification: D73

Suggested Citation

Van de Walle, Steven, Perceptions of Corruption as Distrust? Cause and Effect in Attitudes towards Government (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. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1307673

Steven Van de Walle (Contact Author)

KU Leuven - Department of Political Science ( email )

Public Management Institute
Van Evenstraat 2A
B-3000 Leuven
Belgium
+32 16 323614 (Phone)
+32 16 323611 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.publicmanagementinstitute.be

Erasmus University Rotterdam - Department of Public Administration ( email )

3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands
0031 10 408 2518 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.stevenvandewalle.eu

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