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Perception vs. Experience: Explaining Differences in Corruption Measures Using Microdata

28 Pages Posted: 12 Sep 2015  

Jerg Gutmann

University of Hamburg - Institute of Law and Economics

Fabio Padovano

Université de Rennes I

Stefan Voigt

University of Hamburg - Institute of Law & Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Date Written: September 11, 2015

Abstract

Understanding corruption is at the heart of treating the dysfunctionality of many countries’ public sectors. Yet, most corruption research suffers from one common problem: There is no “objective” measure of public-sector corruption for a cross-section of countries. Most studies on the determinants or the effects of corruption rely on indicators of corruption perception. In more recent years, a second type of indicator reflecting stated experiences with bribery has become available. If corruption perception is primarily informed by experience with corruption, these two types of indicators should be very highly correlated. In fact, they are not. This paper deals with the divergence between these two types of corruption indicators. We examine the variation in individual corruption perception that cannot be explained by individual corruption experiences alone. We find that both respondent characteristics and country characteristics can bias corruption perception. This may force us to reevaluate results of corruption research that makes use of perception indicators and anti-corruption policies that have been designed based on these results.

Keywords: Corruption, Corruption Experience, Corruption Measurement, Corruption Perception, Governance, Governance Indicators, Institutional Quality, Quality of Government, Subjective Indicators, Microdata Analysis

JEL Classification: D73, C8, K42, O17

Suggested Citation

Gutmann, Jerg and Padovano, Fabio and Voigt, Stefan, Perception vs. Experience: Explaining Differences in Corruption Measures Using Microdata (September 11, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2659349 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2659349

Jerg Gutmann

University of Hamburg - Institute of Law and Economics ( email )

Johnsallee 35
Hamburg, 20148
Germany

Fabio Padovano

Université de Rennes I ( email )

7, place Hoche
Rennes, Rennes 35700
France

Stefan Voigt (Contact Author)

University of Hamburg - Institute of Law & Economics ( email )

Johnsallee 35
Hamburg, 20148
Germany
+49-40-428385782 (Phone)
+49-40-428386794 (Fax)

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

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