Religious Loyalty and Acceptance of Corruption
Journal of Economics and Statistics, Volume 235, Issue 2 (2015), Pages 184-206.
34 Pages Posted: 9 Jul 2012 Last revised: 6 May 2016
Date Written: January 29, 2012
This study aims to investigate the relationship between the religiously-induced internalized values of individuals and their specific attitudes regarding accepting corruption. Based on the premises of the New Institutional Economics, we propose that individual level institutions with regard to corruption and religion are associated given the societal institutional context. We use data collected by the World Values Survey on 139,826 individuals in 78 countries with 979 regions surveyed in 13 different years. Our results show that although there is a positive and statistically significant effect of religiosity on the acceptance of corruption on the individual level, such effect is small in magnitude. We find that there is a threshold value of religiosity below which religiosity does not lesser but rather augment acceptance of corruption. Our interpretation for this result is simple; individuals with very low religiosity are generally less bounded by religious norms. Thus, religious norms that are opposed to corruption are also less binding, resulting in a higher propensity of them accepting corruption. Religiosity does lower acceptance of corruption only when it exceeds a certain level of religiosity for a specific individual. We also find that the effect of religiosity on acceptance of corruption does not systematically diverge between individuals of different religious denominations. As for the societal level, our results show that the more accepted corruption is at the societal level, the less of a mitigating effect religiosity has on individual acceptance of corruption.
Keywords: Religion, Corruption, Institutions, Preferences
JEL Classification: A1, D0, D1, D7, K4, Z1
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation