Abstract The international community is redoubling efforts to curb political corruption in the developing and transitional economies. The consensus now is that the abuse of public office stunts economic growth, replacing a formerly dominant view that the effect is neutral or positive. Corruption's political correlates, however, are seldom studied empirically. Using Transparency International's recently developed index of perceived corruption. this paper explores this issue by regression analysis in a sample of less-developed countries. Economic liberalization, political democratization, and administrative centralization are associated with lower degrees of political corruption.