Corruption as a Part of Cultural Phenomenon

cullture of corruptionCulture is always being used in many contexts, such as in means of culinary habits, art literature but here it is relevant to the collective beliefs of group of people on their behaviors, and discuss Culture is more important whenever the discussion is being held in relevance to any economic and development studies, as Max Weber (1864 – 1920) described culture as a Primary Force of Economic change. So, what actually culture is or how we can assess its importance, one can say that Collective Beliefs of a group of people about right and wrong, tolerance and intolerance and these beliefs/ set of values become the part of their social/ behavioral norms, called Culture and if unfortunately, trustworthiness and inequality becomes a part of those norms then it will lead to an opportunity to do corruption which is described as exchange of benefits by means of money(bribery), gifts, etc, in many contexts.

Political Institutions, Organizations, Employer decisions everyone affected by corruption. To clarify this phenomenon lets see a recent literature overview which is based on findings by Ray Fisman und Miguel (2007) on ‘Disentangling the Culture from Corruption’, that means to separate the influence of culture from corruption. They examined the diplomats visiting United Nations headquartered in New York from 149 countries across the world, those diplomats were also exempted from any legal enforcements on their parking behaviors which represent that their parking behavior totally or completely relies on their social norms which they brought from their countries. So, they used Illegal Parking Behavior as a measure of Corruption. The aspect revealed from their findings was that the most illegal parking was by the individuals who were from more corrupt countries. While others who were from least corrupt countries were not corrupt in their parking behaviors. Through these findings, it is clear that the culture has a strong influence on corruption and it is impossible to disentangle it. Prof. Geert Hofstede cultural dimensions and their relevance with the results of CPI (Corruption Perspective Index) 2016 may provide intense learning that how same cultural preferences and their percentage differs in corruption level across different countries.

As an example, municipal sanitation and firefighter’s collection of tips can be taken, in which fear of households of spilling out their garbage in front of their houses in means of unpaid tips makes them give those tips, this fear represents corruption in a culture. Let’s assume another side of the story begins when it is counted as their(municipal clerks) right to collect the tips in many countries ethically (cannot be taken as corruption). So, it is a great predicament to understand and react according to culture, as corruption varies differently across cultures.

However, Strong effects of this cultural influence can be seen in many societies of the world, as a result of which nobody only accepts the corrupt practices without identifying them as corruption but also encourages others to do the same practices and after a certain period of time those practices becomes the part of their Culture. In this regard, the sense of feeling from people is eliminated from their behaviors that they are being corrupt by following such practices which are wrongly named as a part of Culture by the passage of time.

Therefore, it can be assessed that level of awareness in means of more Cultural Research/ Studies must be exceeded. It is helpful to increase individual levels which support to increase a sense of feeling through thinking and analyzing the facts and figures of certain wrong behaviors which contradict the process of corruption through mobilization procedure. Otherwise, if globe will leave this issue untouched then the wrong moral judgments may exceed to the different levels of corrupt behaviors.

Hence, an important aspect is that it has a strong effect on corruption, dealing with corruption is long term perspective and moderating culture is a slow one but rather it is possible as no culture in the world is same as it used to be Eight Centuries ago. In this regard, an important action to promote research in cultural studies required, which exceeds acknowledgment and develop respect among individuals about different cultures, because no culture in this world is corrupt, only human behavior makes it doubtful.


Fisman, R. and Miguel, E. (2007). Corruption, Norms and Legal Enforcement: Evidence from Diplomatic Parking Tickets. Journal of Political Economy, Vol 115, No. 6, p. 1020 – 1048

Hofstede, G. [accessed online

Ronald, G. (2016). Development Economics. Chapter 11 and 19, New York, Routledge

Transparency International (2016). Corruption Perception Index 2016. [online]

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