Sources of Corruption in Authoritarian Regimes

33 Pages Posted: 10 Feb 2009

See all articles by Eric C. C. Chang

Eric C. C. Chang

Michigan State University - Department of Political Science

Miriam A. Golden

European University Institute; University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Date Written: February 9, 2009


We study the determinants of corruption in a sample of 40-odd authoritarian polities at the turn of the 21st century. Recent studies have proposed several parallel mechanisms potentially relevant for variations in the extent of corruption in authoritarian regimes. We put these various theories into a unified empirical model in order to investigate the wide range of corruption observed in non-democratic political systems. We investigate the importance to variations in corruption in authoritarian countries of the type of group in power, various indicators of rulers' perceived time horizons, and as control variables, the availability of natural resources, the extent of foreign aid, the level of economic development, and the degree of institutionalized autocracy. Our results indicate that personalistic and personalistic-hybrid regimes are more prone to corruption than single-party and military regimes, and that rulers who expect to remain in power for longer are less corrupt. We also find that the availability of natural resources and higher level of institutionalized autocracy are associated with greater corruption and that wealthier countries experience less corruption.

Keywords: corruption, autocracy, dictatorship, political regimes, political institutions

JEL Classification: O17, D72, P26

Suggested Citation

Chang, Eric C. C. and Golden, Miriam A., Sources of Corruption in Authoritarian Regimes (February 9, 2009). Available at SSRN: or

Eric C. C. Chang

Michigan State University - Department of Political Science ( email )

East Lansing, MI 48824
United States

Miriam A. Golden (Contact Author)

European University Institute ( email )

Via dei Roccettini 9
San Domenico di Fiesole
Florence, 50014
50014 (Fax)

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) ( email )

Department of Political Science
Box 951472
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1361
United States


Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics