Experience versus Perception of Corruption: Russia as a test case
Title: Experience versus Perception of Corruption: Russia as a test case
Citation: Global Crime, 2010, 11, 2, 145-163
Corruption is important because it undermines bureaucratic predictability and is a potential threat to support for a political regime. The perception of corruption is the most commonly used measure of the actual incidence of corruption. This paper marshals survey data from the New Russia Barometer to challenge this assumption. It finds that even though most Russians perceive a variety of everyday public services as corrupt, this assessment is not based on firsthand experience. Only a minority pays bribes. It tests four hypotheses about differences in individual perception and experience of paying bribes: the ability to pay, contact with public services, normative acceptability, and political awareness. It finds that contact is most important for paying bribes while political awareness is most important for the perception of corruption. It also tests how much the perception and experience of corruption, as against other forms of political and economic performance, affect support for the regime. It finds that support is driven by the substantive performance of government, and above all management of the economy, rather than by indicators of corruption.
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