Corruption and Trust: Theoretical Considerations and Evidence From Mexico
The growing empirical literature on political corruption shows trust (interpersonal and political) to be both cause and consequence of corruption: a conclusion that largely builds on studies using cross-national measures of corruption based on perceptions of corruption rather than actual experience, raising questions of endogeneity. The lack of trust fed by corruption is considered critical in that it undermines government efforts to mobilize society to help fight corruption and leads the public to routinely dismiss government promises to fight corruption. After disaggregating the major concepts, this article empirically explores the relationship linking corruption and trust in Mexico based on data from the 2004 Americas Barometer survey. The authors discover a powerful mutual causality between perceptions of corruption and trust in political institutions that suggests that rooting out perceptions of corruption or shoring up trust in public institutions will be an extremely difficult project for anyone who takes on the task.
Comparative Political Studies