Resources on corruption and women's participation in public life

Gender and corruption: The mediating power of institutional logics. Stensöta, H., Wängnerud, L., & Svensson, R. 2015.

This paper uses meso-level theories to elaborate on the relationship between recruiting more women in office and corruption, the paper suggests that institutional logics mediate the effect of gendered experiences on corruption. The authors argue that the relationship between more women and lower levels of corruption is weaker in the state administration than in the legislative arena, because the bureaucratic administrative logic absorbs actors' personal characteristics. The institutional argument is refined by claiming that the stronger the bureaucratic principles are in the administration, the less gender matters. The theory uses data provided by the European Commission (EC) covering the EC countries and original data from the Quality of Government Institute Expert Surveys, covering a larger set of countries on a worldwide scale.

Gender equality in parliaments and political corruption. GOPAC, 2014. Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption position paper

The most recent research on gender and political corruption challenges the view that increasing the number of women elected to political office decreases political corruption. The reality is far more nuanced, with the broader social and institutional context, in which female and male politicians operate, profoundly and asymmetrically, shaping the relationship between gender and corruption in global politics. An increase in the number of women in parliament will tend to reduce corruption, if the country in question has reasonably robust systems to uphold democracy and to enforce anti-corruption laws. However, in the absence of such systems, women's participation in parliament is unlikely to have any impact on the levels of national corruption.

As a result, the Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption's (GOPAC) Women in Parliament Network concludes that to reduce corruption, countries should recruit greater female participation in politics in tandem with taking steps to increase institutional political transparency, to strengthen parliamentary oversight and to enforce strong penalties for corruption.

Women political leaders, corruption and learning: Evidence from a large public program in India. Afridia, F., Iversen, V., & Sharanc, M.R., 2013.

This paper uses the national policy of randomly allocating village council headships to women to identify the impact of female political leadership on the governance of projects under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act in India. Using primary survey data, the authors find more programme inefficiencies and leakages in village councils reserved for women heads: political and administrative inexperience make such councils more vulnerable to bureaucratic capture. When using a panel of audit reports, governance improves as female leaders accumulate experience. Women political leaders not only catch-up in the delivery of public programmes but generate governance dividends once initial, gendered disadvantages recede.

Corruption and entrepreneurship: Does gender matter? Trentini, C., & Koparanova, M., 2013. United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

Corruption determines the quality of the "doing business" environment at large. The aim of this paper is to explore entrepreneurs' corrupt behaviour by looking at two questions: (1) does gender matter in corrupt behaviour and (2) can corruption be an explanatory factor for gender gaps in company growth by looking at empirical evidence of whether and the extent to which female entrepreneurs face gender-specific challenges and might have different behaviours based on different ethics and moral standards. The findings suggest that women entrepreneurs do have a significant lower propensity to bribe compared to men entrepreneurs. Looking at the impact of corruption on employment growth, the authors find a general negative impact of administrative corruption especially for micro-enterprises but a positive one for women entrepreneurs. This is consistent with the fact that the majority of women are micro-entrepreneurs; for them it is easier to escape the attention of corrupt officials, but greasing the wheels of state bureaucracy might become necessary and facilitate their firm's growth.  

"Fairer sex" or purity myth? Corruption, gender, and institutional context. Esarey, J., & Chirillo, G., 2013.

Cross-national studies have found evidence that women are individually more disapproving of corruption than men and that female participation in government is negatively associated with perceived corruption at the country level. In this paper, the authors argue that this difference reflects greater pressure on women to comply with political norms as a result of discrimination and risk aversion, and therefore a gender gap exists in some political contexts but not others. Bribery, favouritism, and personal loyalty are often characteristic of the normal operation of autocratic governments and not stigmatised as corruption. The paper finds weak or non-existent relationships between gender and corruption in this context. It finds much stronger relationships in democracies, where corruption is more typically stigmatised.

Re-examining the link between gender and corruption: The role of social institutions. Branisa, B., Ziegler, M., 2011. Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Berlin 2011, No. 15

This paper reviews the literature on the relationship between the representation of women in economic and political life, democracy and corruption, and brings in a new previously omitted variable that captures the level of discrimination against women in a society: social institutions related to gender inequality. Using a sample of developing countries, the authors regress corruption on the representation of women, democracy and other control variables. The sub-index, civil liberties from the OECD Development Centre's GID database, serves as a measure of social institutions related to gender inequality. The results show that corruption is higher in countries where social institutions deprive women of their freedom to participate in social life, even accounting for democracy and representation of women in political and economic life as well as for other variables. The findings suggest that, in a context where social values disadvantage women, neither political reforms towards democracy nor increasing the representation of women in political and economic positions might be enough to reduce corruption.

Corruption and the balance of gender power. Echazu, L., 2010. in Clarkson University, Review of Law and Economics

This paper seeks to explain the negative relationship between female participation in a government and corruption found in empirical research. The authors propose that even if there are no innate gender differences towards moral values, the costs of corrupt behaviour may still differ across genders and are related to the proportion of female participation in government agencies. Hence, females behave more honestly than males do, not because they are naturally prone to it, but because they cannot afford to be corrupt if they are a minority.

Gender, corruption and sustainable growth in transition countries. Michailova, J. & Melnykovska, I., 2009. in Journal of Applied Economic Sciences Vol. 4, No. 3(9). Fall2009 (2009): pp. 387-407

This paper analyses the relationship between gender and corruption for a specific sample of countries, sharing a common cultural and historical legacy: transition countries. The relationship between a higher number of women in parliament and a decreasing level of corruption is supported by data. Relations with other forms of social activity by women were found to be insignificant. From the evidence the article concludes that an increase in women representation in parliament has a positive effect for a country through its negative relationship to corruption. However, the authors understand that due to a small sample size the results could not be considered as fully credible.

Rent-seeking and gender in local governance. Vijayalakshmi, V. United Nations Team for Recovery Support, United Nations, 2008. in USA Journal of Development Studies, Vol. 44, No. 9, 1262–1288, October 2008

The paper examines the relationship between corruption and gender in the context of local government in India, using a logic model. Recent debates about women's participation in electoral politics suggest that the presence of more women in government will engender public policy and tends to reduce corruption. The evidence examined in this paper indicates that gender is not a significant factor in explaining levels of corruption. Although nearly 40 per cent of the elective positions in the institutions of local government are occupied by women, there is no significant gender difference in attitudes towards rent-seeking or in actual levels of corruption between male and female representatives.

Close search

Responsive versions of the site in progress.