Conviction and punishment: Free press and competitive election as deterrents to corruption
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Democratic institutions are not equally effective in curbing corruption. Using a criminal behavior model, this study formulates the hypothesis that corruption offenders, being risk-inclined, are deterred more by conviction-reinforcing democratic institutions than by punishment-reinforcing democratic institutions. Evidence based on cross-country regressions strongly supports this hypothesis, indicating that compared with competitive election, free press is a more effective deterrent to corruption. While shedding light on why corruption remains rampant in some electoral democracies - particularly the illiberal democracies - this study identifies a key to corruption control.
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This document has been peer reviewed.