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From each according to his need, to each according to his ability: A comparative analysis of post-communist corruption

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Though venality and graft arguably presents a political and economic problems in the post-communist world tout court, the 28 countries exhibit very different levels of corruption. Interestingly, these differences follow a strictly geographic pattern. The more to the West we move, the less corrupt are the post-communist countries, something which indicates that ‘deeper’ historical constraints are important for the present levels of corruption. Building on – and qualifying – prior work of Herbert Kitschelt, we show that most of the massive variation in post-communist corruption levels can be traced back to pre-communist bureaucratic legacies. These legacies explain not only the variation across the present national borders of the post-communist world but seemingly also within ‘cleft countries’ in which more than one pre-communist bureaucratic legacy is present. Contrary to much of the literature on post-communist transitions, we, therefore, argue that these countries were not characterized by a relatively uniform point of departure in 1989–1991, but rather by deep-seated structural diversity.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Political Science, Aarhus University, Bartholins Allé, Bygning 1331, Aarhus, 8000, Denmark

Publication date: September 1, 2010


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