A Comparative Study of Inequality and Corruption
Friday, March 24, 2006
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
4357 Bunche Hall
The UCLA Center for Korean Studies and the
UCLA Department of Political Science Recruitment Committee presents
"A Comparative Study of Inequality and Corruption"
By Jong-Sung You
Department of Political Science
"I propose that inequality, in particular skewed income distributions, produce greater redistributive pressures, and hence greater motivation for corruption for the rich, especially in democracies.
My quantitative cross-national study of 129 countries demonstrates that previous empirical studies failed to find the significance of inequality on corruption because of large measurement error in inequality. The use of averaged data, instead of single-year data, for inequality for a long period (1971-1996) in OLS regressions as well as the use of an instrumental variable (mature cohort size) for inequality in 2SLS produced significant and substantively large coefficients for inequality. Also, I find evidence that the effect of inequality on corruption is greater in democratic countries than in authoritarian regimes and that inequality adversely affects norms and
perceptions about corruption.
In my comparative historical case study of South Korea, relative to Taiwan and the Philippines, I find that different levels of inequality, which were created by success and failure of land reform and differences in industrial policy, best explain the different levels of corruption among these countries. In addition, I find that success or failure of land reform was little affected by corruption, but largely determined by external factors such as communist threat (from North Korea and mainland China) and differences in US policy toward land reform. Also, I find that initial adoption of chaebol-centered industrialization strategy in S. Korea and SME-oriented industrialization in Taiwan was not affected by corruption but primarily determined by the preferences of the political elite."