QoG lunch seminar with Eric Chang

Society and economy

Democratization and Political Corruption in East Asian Democracies

1 Jun 2022
12:00 - 13:00
Stora Skansen (room B336), Sprängkullsgatan 19

Eric Chang, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, Michigan State University
Good to know
The QoG institute regularly organizes seminars related to research on Quality of Government, broadly defined as trustworthy, reliable, impartial, uncorrupted and competent government institutions.

All seminars are held in English unless stated otherwise.
The Quality of Government institute


This paper examines the relationship between democratization and corruption in East Asia.  I challenge the conventional view that democratization reduces corruption, and I argue whether democratization lowers corruption depending on how a country democratizes.  Utilizing the Asian Barometer survey, I first show no evidence that the introduction of popular and direct elections has resulted in less perceived corruption among Asian citizens. Instead, I find that citizens who perceive a higher level of clientelist politics are more likely to consider corruption worsened since democratization. Secondly, making use of the V-Dem dataset, I conduct a cross-national analysis by including all of the young electoral democracies around the world. Similar to my individual-level analysis, I show no statistical difference in corruption before and after democratic transition. I also find that the levels of corruption are indeed higher in new democracies that empower strong presidents and employ clientelism. Together, this paper shows how different levels of executive authorities and different types of democratic linkages can have profound consequences on political corruption for young democracies.