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Perceptions of Political Corruption in Latin American Democracies

  • Damarys Canache (a1) and Michael E. Allison (a2)

Abstract

Political corruption poses a serious threat to the stability of developing democracies by eroding the links between citizens and governments. Using data on national levels of corruption (Transparency International 1997 CPI index) and individual opinion (1995-97 World Values Survey), this study finds that Latin Americans are quite aware of the seriousness of corruption in their countries. The ensuing question is whether citizens can connect their views about corruption to appraisals of their authorities and institutions and of democracy more generally. Collectively, the findings suggest that they can, and that the necessary ingredients for accountability are present in Latin America. The possible dark side of mass opinion on corruption is that pervasive misconduct may poison public sentiment toward democratic politics. On this score, the analysis found that this attitude affected only support for specific administrations and institutions.

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Perceptions of Political Corruption in Latin American Democracies

  • Damarys Canache (a1) and Michael E. Allison (a2)

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