Does Corruption Erode Trust in Government? Evidence from a Recent Surge of Local Scandals in Spain

IEB Working Paper N. 2014/26

44 Pages Posted: 25 Jul 2014

See all articles by Albert Sole-Olle

Albert Sole-Olle

University of Barcelona; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Pilar Sorribas-Navarro

University of Barcelona - Faculty of Economic Science and Business Studies

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: June 30, 2014

Abstract

We examine whether a corruption scandal in which the incumbent is implicated undermines trust in local government. We use a novel dataset containing information on local corruption scandals reported in Spain during the period 1999-2009, and data on the level of trust expressed in local politicians drawn from a new survey conducted in late 2009. We use matching methods to improve the identification of the effect of corruption scandals on trust, comparing municipalities affected by a scandal with those presenting similar traits but in which no scandal had been reported. We find that corruption scandals have a marked negative effect on trust in local politicians. This effect is even more marked in the case of individuals that have no ideological attachment to the party accused of corruption and/or who obtain their information from the media. Several falsification tests, based on a sample of corruption scandals reported after the survey had been conducted, confirm the causal interpretation of these results.

Keywords: corruption, trust

JEL Classification: P16, D72

Suggested Citation

Sole-Olle, Albert and Sorribas-Navarro, Pilar, Does Corruption Erode Trust in Government? Evidence from a Recent Surge of Local Scandals in Spain (June 30, 2014). IEB Working Paper N. 2014/26. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2471064 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2471064

Albert Sole-Olle

University of Barcelona ( email )

Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 585
Barcelona, 08007
Spain

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Pilar Sorribas-Navarro (Contact Author)

University of Barcelona - Faculty of Economic Science and Business Studies ( email )

Barcelona
Spain

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