Ccorruption across countries and cultures
Around the world, people talk about “corrupt cultures,” implying a predisposition for a group of people to behave in corrupt ways and perhaps leading to the conclusion that fighting corruption entails cultural change. National measures of corruption are in fact strongly correlated with many measures of national culture. The paper provides new statistical support for a partial evolutionary explanation. But discourse about culture and corruption should be reframed in terms of conflicting norms, not degraded norms. Moreover, those wishing to reduce corruption might avoid trying to engineer cultural change. Instead, theory and case studies suggest how to disrupt corrupt equilibriums and alter the risk-reward calculations of bribe-takers and bribe-makers. These points suggest new approaches to a venerable question in comparative studies: if culture matters, what can be done?