Rice University Scholar Examines Gender Gap in Corruption

RiceLogoA study led by Justin Esarey, an assistant professor of political science at Rice University in Houston, examines women’s views on corruption. Dr. Esarey’s study found that women are more likely to disapprove of political corruption and are less likely to engage in it in countries where such practices are publicly discouraged and where political corruption is punished by voters and/or the courts. In countries where political corruption is more accepted and where it is widely practiced, women are just as likely to participate in it as men.

The study examined corruption levels in 157 countries as measured by several international organizations. The research also used surveys on personal attitudes about corruption from individuals in 68 countries.

“The relationship between gender and corruption appears to depend on context,” said Professor Esarey. “When corruption is stigmatized, as in most democracies, women will be less tolerant and less likely to engage in it compared with men. But if ‘corrupt’ behaviors are an ordinary part of governance supported by political institutions, there will be no corruption gender gap.”


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