I would like to thank Taavi Annus, Christine Cheng, A. Cooper Drury, Mark A. Kayser, Jonathan Krieckhaus, Lawrence LeDuc, and Natalia Letki for reading and commenting on various versions of the article. An earlier version of this article was presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Washington, DC, September 1–4, 2005.
Clarity of Responsibility and Corruption
Article first published online: 4 JAN 2007
American Journal of Political Science
Volume 51, Issue 1, pages 218–229, January 2007
How to Cite
Tavits, M. (2007), Clarity of Responsibility and Corruption. American Journal of Political Science, 51: 218–229. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-5907.2007.00246.x
- Issue published online: 4 JAN 2007
- Article first published online: 4 JAN 2007
This article demonstrates that political institutions influence the level of corruption via clarity of responsibility. The key hypothesis is that when political institutions provide high clarity of responsibility, politicians face incentives to pursue good policies and reduce corruption. These incentives are induced by the electorates' rejection of incumbents who do not provide satisfactory outcomes. However, if lines of responsibility are not clear, the ability of voters to evaluate and punish politicians—as well as to create incentives for performance—declines. The findings confirm that countries with institutions that allow for greater clarity of responsibility have lower levels of corruption.