Seligson M. The Impact of Corruption on Regime Legitimacy: A Comparative Study of Four Latin American Countries. 2002.
Notes:This article adjudicates in the debate on whether corruption is good or bad for regime legitimacy. In the first view, corruption functions as the “grease” that gets the bureaucracy moving, thereby increasing citizen loyalty to the political system and maintaining the political system. In contrast, the second view sees corruption as reducing the commitment to the community and overall trust in the political system, thus eroding public support for the legitimacy of a regime. The author’s large N study of four relatively corrupt countries (Bolivia, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Paraguay) provides strong empirical evidence for the second view. The survey, specifically designed for the present purposes, is innovative in that it asks for experiences with corruption. (Not for corruption perceptions, although aggregating the frequency of corruption experiences to the national level does closely correlate with TI’s findings). It remains to be seen whether the results are generalizable beyond Latin America in the 1990s.
journal name: Journal of Politics