ACCOUNTABILITY AND PERCEPTIONS OF CORRUPTION AMONG ADMINISTRATIVE AND POLITICAL ACTORS IN SPAIN


GT 5.1 ¿Cómo analizar y explicar la corrupción desde la Ciencia Política y de la Administración?

Autor/a
Manuel Villoria Mendieta (Universidad Rey Juan Carlos)
Coautor/es
Patria de Lancer Julnes
Programa:
Sesión 1
Día: viernes,20 de septiembre de 2013
Hora: 11:45 a 14:15
Lugar: E10SEM9

This paper explains citizen perceptions of corruption in Spain, a particularly useful country for study in that there appears to be less actual corruption than in other Mediterranean countries but the perceptions of the existence of corruption is still very high.  The primary hypotheses relate to expected commonalities and differences in the factors responsible for perceptions of corruption regarding elected officials and other government actors with high discretion, as contrasted with more highly regulated administrative actors.  We believe that the low level of accountability of politicians is one of the most important reasons of the high level of citizen perception of corruption in Spain.

We adopt the broad definition of corruption provided by Klitgaard, MacLean-Abaroa, and Parris : “corruption means the misuse of office for personal gain. The office is a position of trust, where one receives authority in order to act on behalf of an institution, be it a private, public, or non-profit.” Thes e authors further note that corruption flourishes when there is a monopoly over discretion of who gets what and how much of it, and when there is a lack of accountability for the decision.  In this context, in particular when cultural and organizational norms that promote impartiality and accountability in the exercise of power are weak, these opportunities for corruption are likely to be taken advantage of.  In short, under such conditions there are errors in regulation and institutional designs, which fail to set appropriate mechanisms to control discretion and avoid monopolistic powers in the hands of public officials that provide opportunities for corruption to occur. Furthermore, they will raise expectations on the part of citizens that they will be used for personal gain by some public officials and public employees in positions of power.  Moreover, current research suggests that citizens differentiate in terms of their expectations of corruption from different government and public officials in different positions of power. To illustrate, the results of victimization surveys (Global Corruption Barometers of Transparency International, TI, 2009-2010), suggest that when studying perceptions of corruption in Europe, and Spain in particular, disaggregating perceptions can provide the most useful insights. 

Thus, acknowledging that actual levels of government corruption are not assessed, we used survey data, collected in 2009, from citizens of Spain between the ages of 18 and 99 to answer the following question:

In what ways do the factors influencing citizen perceptions of corruption differ for actors with more or less discretion and with more or less accountability?

 

Palabras clave: Corruption, accountability, perception, discretion