Resources on the linkages between gender and corruption

Are women less corrupt than men?

Case studies on gender and corruption: The link between gender and corruption in Europe. Wängnerud, L., 2015.

This paper focuses on the link between gender and corruption in Europe and provides an overview of theoretical debates on the role of the gender perspective. It adds new knowledge through a number of cross-country comparative studies and case-studies at the subnational level and on both an elite and citizen level in Europe. Empirical results from Europe show that gender appears to matter for aspects such as tolerance of corruption, but the size of the gender gap, with women being more restricted than men, varies across Europe. Moreover, the link between gender and corruption at the elite level of society is affected by the norms and cultures of various government institutions. The author concludes that increasing the proportion of women in positions of power is no "quick fix" for corruption but might be a start for a policy change.

Gender and corruption in business. Breen, M., Gillanders, R., McNulty, G. and Suzuki, A., 2015.

Are women less corrupt in business? The authors revisit this assumption using firm-level data from the World Bank's Enterprise Surveys, which measure firms' experience of corruption and the gender of their owners and top managers. The authors find that women in positions of influence are associated with less corruption: female-owned businesses pay less in bribes and corruption is seen as less of an obstacle in companies where women are represented in top management.

Perspectives on gender and corruption. Agerberg, M., 2014. in The Quality of Governance Working Paper Series 2014:14. University of Gothenburg

Using regional data on governance in Europe, collected by the Quality of Governance Institute, this paper looks at gender differences in the Quality of Government Institute's regional data on governance in Europe from an individual and institutional perspective. This study examines the raw survey material, containing 85,000 respondents from over 200 NUTS regions in the EU. The results show interesting gender differences with regard to corruption: women, on average, perceive corruption levels as worse, report paying fewer bribes and have a lower tolerance of corrupt behaviour, compared to men. These gender differences seem to exist in basically all countries in the study. The results also indicate that a larger share of female politicians elected locally might have positive effects on the regional quality of governance.

Gender stereotypes and corruption: How candidates affect perceptions of election fraud. Barnes, T.D. & Beaulieu, E., 2014.

How do stereotypes of female candidates influence citizens' perceptions of political fraud and corruption? Because gender stereotypes characterise female politicians as more ethical, honest, and trustworthy than male politicians, there are important theoretical reasons for expecting female politicians to mitigate perceptions of fraud and corruption. Using a novel experimental survey design, the authors found that the presence of a female candidate systematically reduces the probability that individuals will express strong suspicion of election fraud in what would otherwise be considered suspicious circumstances. Results from this experiment also reveal interesting heterogeneous effects: individuals who are not influenced by shared partisanship are even more responsive to gender cues; and male respondents are more responsive to those cues than females. These findings have potential implications for women running for office, both with respect to election fraud and corruption more broadly, particularly in low-information electoral settings. 

An experiment on corruption and gender. Fernanda Rivas, M. Middle East Technical University, Northern Cyprus Campus, 2012.

The aim of this paper was to study in a controlled environment whether women and men behave in different ways with respect to corruption – as suggested in the papers using field data – or, on the contrary, they behave in a similar way. In the experiment, participants took one of two roles, that of a firm or that of a public official. The possibility of corruption was introduced by allowing the first player (the firm) to send some amount of money as a bribe to the second player (the public official) in the hope of persuading the official to take a decision favourable to the firm, although this decision had negative externalities over all the other participants in the experiment. The estimations show that even when controlling for the previous actions of the public officer, the public officer's gender, and the firm's risk aversion, a lower amount was transferred if the person playing the firm was a woman. When estimating the probabilities of the public official's actions, men assigned a higher probability than women to the public official accepting the bribe and choosing the corrupt alternative. Moreover, both male and female firms expected female public officials to choose the corrupt alternative less frequently than male officials.

Gender and corruption: Lessons from laboratory corruption experiments. Frank, B., Lambsdorff, J., & Boehm, F., 2010. http://www.palgrave-journals.c...

This laboratory corruption experiment found that if women are involved in a potentially corrupt transaction, it is more likely to fail. The reason is not that women are intrinsically more honest, but that they are more opportunistic when they have the chance to break an implicitly corrupt contract and less engaged in retaliating non-performance. The survey closes with tentative implications for development policy.

Gender, culture, and corruption: Insights from an experimental analysis. Alatas V., Cameron L., Chaudhuri A., Nisvan, E., & GangadharanI, L. 2009. in Southern Economic Journal 2009, 75(3), 663-680

A substantial body of recent research looks at differences in the behaviour of men and women in diverse economic transactions. The authors investigate gender differences in behaviour when confronted with a common bribery problem, using economic experiments. Based on data collected in Australia (Melbourne), India (Delhi), Indonesia (Jakarta), and Singapore, results show that while women in Australia are less tolerant of corruption than men in Australia, no significant gender differences are seen in India, Indonesia and Singapore. Hence, these findings suggest that the gender differences reported in previous studies may not be as universal as stated, and may be more culture specific. The authors also explore behavioural differences by gender across countries and find larger variations in women's behaviour towards corruption than in men's across the countries in the sample.

Australian women and corruption: The gender dimension in perceptions of corruption. Bowman, D.M., & Giligan, G., 2008.

This paper offers some preliminary analysis on the influence of gender on whether or not an individual engages in criminal and/or corrupt behaviour. By drawing on an empirical study, the paper examines the possible relationship between gender and perceptions of corruption in Australia. It suggests that, in general, Australian women appear to be less tolerant of corrupt scenarios than their male counterparts, although gender difference was not automatic across all scenarios. The results suggest that there may indeed be a gender dimension with respect to perceptions of corruption.

Political cleaners: Women as the new anti-corruption force? Goetz, A. Institute of Social Studies, 2007. in Development and Change 38(1): 87–105 (2007);jsessionid=F436882DA78187F28C783D55F9B96E0F.f04t02?userIsAuthenticated=false&deniedAccessCustomisedMessage=

There is statistical evidence that countries with larger numbers of women in politics and in the workforce have lower levels of corruption, fuelling the myth that women are less corrupt than men. This finding can be explained by the fact that there are more women in politics and the workforce in liberal democracies that are also less corrupt than poorer less liberal regimes. The myth of women's incorruptibility is not, of course, new. It is grounded in essentialist notions of women's higher moral nature and an assumed propensity to bring this to bear on public life, and particularly on the conduct of politics. After demonstrating that some of the recent studies about gender and corruption record perceptions about propensities to engage in corrupt behaviour, this contribution suggests rather that the gendered nature of access to politics and public life shapes opportunities for corruption. In addition, corruption can be experienced differently by women and men, which has implications for anti-corruption strategies.

Gender and public attitudes toward corruption and tax evasion. Torgler, B., &. Valev, N.T., 2004. in Contemporary Economic Policy (ISSN 1465-7287), Vol. 28, No. 4, October 2010, 554–568

The topics of corruption and tax evasion have attracted significant attention in the literature in recent years. Building on that literature, the authors investigate empirically: (1) whether attitudes toward corruption and tax evasion vary systematically with gender and (2) whether gender differences decline as men and women face similar opportunities for illicit behaviour. Using data on eight Western European countries from the World Values Survey and the European Values Survey, the results reveal significantly greater aversion to corruption and tax evasion among women. This holds across countries and time, and across numerous empirical specifications.

Fairer sex or fairer system? Gender and corruption revisited. Hung-En Sung, Columbia University. The University of North Caroline Press, 2003.

Two recent influential studies found that larger representations of women in government reduced corruption. Assuming that the observed gender differentials were caused by women's inclinations towards honesty and the common good, both studies advocated increased female participation in government to combat corruption. This study argues that the observed association between gender and corruption is spurious and mainly caused by its context: liberal democracy, a political system that promotes gender equality and better governance. Data favours this "fairer system" thesis.

Are women really the "fairer" sex? Corruption and women in government. Dollar, D., Fisman, R., & Gatti, R., 2001. in Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 26(4): 423–9

Numerous behavioural studies have found women to be more trustworthy and public-spirited than men. These results suggest that women should be particularly effective in promoting honest government. Consistent with this hypothesis, the authors find that the greater the representation of women in parliament, the lower the level of corruption. This association is found in a large cross-section of countries; the result is robust to a wide range of specifications.

Gender and corruption. Swamy, A., S., Knack, Y. L., & Azfar, O., 2000.

Using several independent data sets, this study investigates the relationship between gender and corruption. The microdata show that women are less involved in bribery and are less likely to condone bribe taking. Cross-country data shows that corruption is less severe where women hold a larger share of parliamentary seats and senior positions in the government bureaucracy, and comprise a larger share of the labour force.

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