Are we sure attitudes against corruption are uniform like this? (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer)
Are we sure attitudes against corruption are uniform like this? (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer)
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Abstract

What makes individuals tolerate government corruption? Can citizens tolerate government corruption but be intolerant of corrupt behavior in society? This manuscript argues that not all attitudes toward corruption are the same. An external territorial threat will elicit a tolerance of government corruption. The more citizens care about their security, the more individuals allow for government corruption as long as national problems are being solved. However, citizens become intolerant of corruption in society. Such behavior is viewed as maximizing individual welfare at the expense of working together for the common good. Data are drawn from Latinobarómetro to test this theory. The results from mixed effects models show that Latin Americans in states targeted in territorial disputes are more likely to tolerate corruption by the government as long as the problems of the country are being solved. However, they are intolerant of corrupt behavior not involving the national government.