Roots of Administrative Corruption in Public Sector of Developing Countries

Document Type : Original Research


1 Assistant Professor, Department of Public Administration, Faculty of Management and Accounting, Islamic Azad University, Qazvin Branch, Qazvin, Iran

2 PhD in Human Resource Management, Young Researchers and Elite Club, Islamic Azad University, Bandar Anzali Branch, Bandar Anzali, Iran


What lessons does prior research on causes of corruption offer public administrators operating in, and researchers studying the dynamics of, public sectors of most governments developing societies? In this paper we summarize a voluminous body of prior economic, social and political science research that tells us about the roots of corruption in public sector of developing countries. Informing the analysis is a "review of reviews" of a sprawling research that examines six indicators: government size, oil revenue, democracy, quality of bureaucracy, rule of law, and human development; that are assumed to be major factors in increasing or decreasing the level of corruption in developing societies.  We discern from this formidable body of research what is known about causes of corruption, what is left to know, and how useful the prior research could become panacea for encountering administrative corruption of developing countries. Finally, based on research findings, suggestions for future research are presented


Main Subjects


©2022 The author(s). This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, as long as the original authors and source are cited. No permission is required from the authors or the publishers.

Acemoglu, D., Johnson, S., & Robinson, J. (2001). The colonial origins of comparative development: An empirical investigation. American economic review 91.
Acemoglu, D., Johnson, S., & Robinson, J. (2001). The colonial origins of comparative development: An empirical investigation. American economic review, 91(5), 1369-1401.
Acemoglu, D., Johnson, S., & Robinson, J. (2002). Reversal of fortune: Geography and institutions in the making of the modern world income distribution. The Quarterly journal of economics, 117(4), 1231-1294.
Akçay, S. (2002). Corruption, democracy and bureaucracy: Empirical evidence from developing countries. Gazi Üniversitesi İktisadi ve İdari Bilimler Fakültesi Dergisi, 4(1), 205-218.
Akhter, S. H. (2004). Is globalization what it’s cracked up to be? Economic freedom, corruption, and human development. Journal of World Business, 39(3), 283-295.
Alesina, A., & Tabellini, G. (2008). Bureaucrats or politicians? Part II: Multiple policy tasks. Journal of Public Economics, 92(3-4), 426-447.
Anand, S., & Sen, A. (1993). Human development index: Methodology and measurement. Human Development Report Office Occasional Paper 12, United Nations Development Programme, New York.
Anand, S., & Sen, A. (2000). Human development and economic sustainability. World development, 28(12), 2029-2049.
Andersen, J., & Aslaksen, S. (2013). Oil and Political Survival. Journal of Development Economics,Vol.100, No.1, 89-106.
Arezki, R., & Brückner, M. (2011). Oil rents, corruption, and state stability: Evidence from panel data regressions. European Economic Review55(7), 955-963.
Arvate, P. R., Curi, A., Rocha, F., & Miessi Sanches, F. (2010). Corruption and the size of government: causality tests for OECD and Latin American countries. Applied Economics Letters, 17(10), 1013-1017.
Bäck, H., & Hadenius, A. (2008). Democracy and state capacity: exploring a J‐shaped relationship. Governance, 21(1), 1-24.
Badeeb, R. A., Lean, H., & Clark, J. (2017). The evolution of the natural resource curse thesis: A critical literature survey. Resources Policy, 51, 123-134.
Barbier, E. (2010). Corruption and the Political Economy of Resource-Based Development: a Comparison of Asia and Sub-Sahara Africa. Environmental and Resource Economics, Vol.46, No.4, 511-537.
Bardhan, P. (2017). Corruption and development: a review of issues. Political Corruption, 321-338.
Becker, G. S., & Stigler, G. (1974). Law enforcement, malfeasance, and compensation of enforcers. The Journal of Legal Studies, 3(1), 1-18.
Bhattacharyya, S., & Hodler, R. (2010). Natural Resources, Democracy and Corruption. European Economic Review, Vol. 54, No.4, 608-621.
Brunnschweiler, C. N. (2008). Cursing the blessings? Natural resource abundance, institutions, and economic growth. World development, 36(3), 399-419‏.
Buchanan, J. M., Tollison, R., & Tullock, G. (1980). Toward a theory of the rent-seeking society. Texas A & M Univ Pr(No. 4).
Cheung, H. Y., & Chan, A. (2008). Corruption across countries: Impacts from education and cultural dimensions. The Social Science Journal, 45(2), 223-239.
Dahlström, C., Lapuente, V., & Teorell, J. (2012). The merit of meritocratization: Politics, bureaucracy, and the institutional deterrents of corruption. Political Research Quarterly, 65(3), 656-668.
De Vries, C. E., & Solaz, H. (2017). The electoral consequences of corruption. Annual Review of Political Science, 20, 391-408.
dela Rama, M. J., Lester, M., & Staples, W. (2022). The Challenges of Political Corruption in Australia. the Proposed Commonwealth Integrity Commission Bill (2020) and the Application of the APUNCAC. Laws, 11(1), 7.
Dimant, E., & Tosato, G. (2018). Causes and effects of corruption: what has past decade's empirical research taught us? A survey. Journal of economic surveys, 32(2), 335-356.
Easterly, W., & Levine, R. (2003). Tropics, germs, and crops: how endowments influence economic development. Journal of monetary economics, 50(1), 3-39.
Esarey, J., & Schwindt-Bayer, L. (2018). Women’s representation, accountability and corruption in democracies. British Journal of Political Science, 48(3), 659-690.
Evans, P., & Rauch, J. (1999). Bureaucracy and growth: A cross-national analysis of the effects of" Weberian" state structures on economic growth. American sociological review, 748-765.
Frankel, A. (2014). Aligned delegation. American Economic Review104(1), 66-83.
Frisch, D. (1994). The Effects of Corruption on Development, paper presented to the Africa Leadership Forum on Corruption, Democracy and Human Rights in Africa. Cotonou, Benin, 19-21.
Gatti, R. (2004). Explaining corruption: are open countries less corrupt? Journal of International Development, 16(6), 851-861.
Gillanders, R. (2014). Corruption and infrastructure at the country and regional level. Journal of Development Studies, 803-819.
Goel, R. K., & Nelson, M. (2021). Direct and indirect influences of political regimes on corruption. Social Science Quarterly,102(4), 1569-1589.
Gründler, K., & Potrafke, N. (2019). Corruption and economic growth: New empirical evidence. European Journal of Political Economy.
Hall, R. E., & Jones, C. (1999). Why do some countries produce so much more output per worker than others? The quarterly journal of economics, 114(1), 83-116.
Hammond, J. L. (2011). The resource curse and oil revenues in Angola and Venezuela. Science & society, 75(3), 348-378.
Harriss-White, B., & White, G. (1996). Corruption, liberalization and democracy. editorial introduction.
Herzfeld, T., & Weiss, C. (2003). Corruption and legal (in) effectiveness: an empirical investigation. European Journal of Political Economy, 19(3), 621-632.
Hsiao, A., Vogt, V., & Quentin, W. (2019). Effect of corruption on perceived difficulties in healthcare access in sub-Saharan Africa. PloS one, 14(8), e0220583.
Huntington, S. P. (1968). Political Order in Changing Societies New Haven. Yale Univ.
Husted, B. W. (1999). Wealth, culture, and corruption. Journal of International Business Studies, 339-359.
Igiebor, G. S. (2019). Political corruption in Nigeria: Implications for economic development in the fourth republic. Journal of Developing Societies,, 493-513.
Jetter, M., Agudelo, A., & Hassan, A. (2015). The effect of democracy on corruption: Income is key. World Development,, 74, 286-304.
Kasasbeh, H. A., Mdanat, M., & Khasawneh, R. (2018). Corruption and FDI inflows: Evidence from a small developing economy. Asian Economic and Financial Review, 1075-1085.
Klašnja, M. (2015). Corruption and the incumbency disadvantage: Theory and evidence. The Journal of Politics, 77(4), 928-942.
Kramer, J., & Chen, J. (2010). Title of the Article. Journal Name, 3(2), 110-313.
Krueger, A. O. (1974). The political economy of the rent-seeking society. The American economic review, 64(3), 291-303.
Kuntz, K. D., Collado-Vega, Y., Collier, M., Connor, H., Cravens, T., Koutroumpa, D., & Walsh, B. (2015). The solar wind charge-exchange production factor for hydrogen. The Astrophysical Journal, 808(2), 143.
LaPalombara, J. (1994). Structural and institutional aspects of corruption. Social research, 325-350.
Leff, N. H. (1964). Economic development through bureaucratic corruption. American behavioral scientist, 8(3), 8-14.
Leite, M. C., & Weidmann, J. (1999). Does Mother Nature corrupt: Natural resources, corruption, and economic growth? International Monetary Fund.
Leys, C. (2017). What is the Problem about Corruption? In Political corruption, 59-74.
Li’an, Z. H., & Jing, T. (2009). Government size, market-orientation and regional corruption: Evidence from the provincial level panel data. Frontiers of Economics in China, 4(3), 425-448.
Mahdavi, P. (2014). Extortion in the oil states: Nationalization, regulatory structure, and corruption. UCLA manuscript.
Mauro, P. (1995). Corruption and growth. The quarterly journal of economics, 681-712.
Mauro, P. (2017). The effects of corruption on growth and public expenditure. In Political corruption, 339-352.
Mendonça, H. F., & Fonseca, A. (2012). Corruption, income, and rule of law: empirical evidence from developing and developed economies. Brazilian Journal of Political Economy, 32(2), 305-314.
Ninepence, A. M. (2020). The Risks that Should be Taken Into Account and Conditions that Needs to be Met before the Government Launches a Programme to Attack Corruption in the Civil Service. . Acta Universitatis Danubius. Administratio, 12(2).
O’Donnell, G. A. (2001). Democracy, law, and comparative politics. Studies in Comparative International Development,36(1), 7-36.
Paldam, M. (1999). The Bigg Pattern of Corruption: Economics, Culture and the Seesaw dynamics. University of Aarhus. Center for Dynamic Modelling in Economics. Working Paper, Working Paper, 11.
Philp, M. (2017). Conceptualizing political corruption. In Political corruption, 41-58.
Prados de la Escosura, L. (2015). World human development: 1870–2007. Review of Income and Wealth, 61(2), 220-247.
Programme, U. N. (2001). Human Development Report. United Nations Development Programme.
Rauch, J. E., & Evans, P. (2000). Bureaucratic structure and bureaucratic performance in less developed countrie. Journal of public economics, 75(1), 49-71.
Rodrik, D., Subramanian, A., & Trebbi, F. (2004). Institutions rule: the primacy of institutions over geography and integration in economic development. Journal of economic growth, 9(2), 131-165.
Rose, R., & Peiffer, C. (2019). The Impact of Corruption on Citizens. In Bad Governance and Corruption. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham., 127-144.
Rose-Ackerman, S. (1975). The economics of corruption. Journal of public economics, 4(2), 187-203.
Rose-Ackerman, S. (2018). Corruption in international business. Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts-und Unternehmensethik, 19(1), 6-24.
Rose-Ackerman, S., & Palifka, B. (2016). Corruption and government: Causes, consequences, and reform. Cambridge university press.
Ross, M. (2008). Blood Barrels-Why Oil Wealth Fuels Conflict. Foreign Affair, Vol.87, No. 3, 2.
Scully, G. W. (1991). Rent-seeking in US government budgets. 1900–88. Public Choice, 70(1), 99-106.
Sen, A. K. (1999). Development as Freedom. New York: Oxford University Press.
Shaxson, N. (2007). Oil, corruption and the resource curse. International Affairs, 83(6), 1123-1140.
Shleifer, A., & Vishny, R. (1993). Corruption. The quarterly journal of economics, 108(3), 599-617.
Sung, H. E. (2004). Democracy and political corruption: A cross-national comparison. Crime, Law and Social Change41(2), 179-193.
Torvik, R. (2002). Natural resources, rent seeking and welfare. Journal of development economics, 67(2), 455-470.
Transparency Organization, I. (2016). Annual Survey: Corruption Perception Index. Retrieved from.
Ul Haq, M. (1995). Reflections on human development. Oxford University Press.
Van Rijckeghem, C., & Beatrice S. , W. (1997). Corruption and the Rate of Temptation: Do Low Wages in the Civil Service Cause Corruption? IMF Working Paper WP/97/73.
Watson, J., Taylor, A., Haffman, T., Jorge, A., Sulivan, B., Chung, D., & Mahmood, A. (2009). Title of the Book. New York: Publisher.
Zadegan, A., & Mohammad, S. (2004). Administrative Corruption. Publications Office of Cultural Research, First Edition. (In Persian).
Zhang, Y., Cao, L., & Vaughn, M. (2009). Social support and corruption: Structural determinants of corruption in the world. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Criminology, 42(2), 204-217.