Corruption perceptions: Confidence in elections and evaluations of clientelism

Emily Beaulieu Bacchus, Carew Boulding

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


How does the fairness of the democratic process influence public perceptions of corruption? This article demonstrates the ways that elections can influence broader confidence in democracy. Corruption is often described as one of the most serious problems facing democracy today, and citizen confidence in democracy has implications for system support and legitimacy. What constitutes corruption, however, is not always obvious. We focus on the importance of citizens' feelings about electoral integrity for shaping their attitudes about corruption more broadly. Using survey data from Latin America and an experimental survey in the United States, we show that when asked to evaluate political practices as corrupt or not, people who are more confident in the fairness of their electoral process are generally less concerned about corruption, compared with people who are less confident in elections. These effects hold across a range of practices, experiences, and electoral contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)609-632
Number of pages24
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Wiley Periodicals LLC.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Marketing


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