Gender and corruption: do women bribe less and why?

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School of Business | Master's thesis
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Objectives of the study The objective of the thesis is to investigate the link between gender and corruption. Increasing gender equality has been proposed to help reduce levels of corruption societies, as women are sometimes seen as less prone to corrupt behavior than men are. An important question is, whether women universally show less corrupt behavior than men. Furthermore, understanding of the possible explanations for any gender differences and their plausibility are essential to understand whether increasing the share of women in public life could have the desired effect of limiting levels of corruption. Methodology The study consists of a literature review and an empirical analysis utilizing micro-level survey data from 107 different countries. Academic literature on gender and corruption is analyzed to understand what findings have already been made; what is the relationship between gender and corruption outcomes and what kinds of theories have been proposed to explain the findings. The relationship between gender and self-reported bribery and other factors related to corruption are analyzed using a binomial probit method. Results The main findings are that women appear as less likely to engage in self-reported bribery and the most likely reason behind this is a difference in the way public officials treat women and men. Gender discrimination may be an important mediating factor in this. Gender differences in risk aversion as a factor to explain gender differences in bribery does not receive support from the analysis. Neither is there any evidence to suggest that there would be any difference between men and women in propensity to engage in bribery if equal treatment of the genders was given. Considering the findings, a universal policy rule promoting gender equality as an instrument to fight corruption seems ill-advised.
corruption, gender, governance, development economics
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