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News | March 20, 2020

Owl in the Olive Tree post "Casualties of Good Governance: How Corruption Helps Ordinary Citizens in Autocracies"

By Marina Zaloznaya

In forty-eight countries around the world—most of which are poor and non-democratic—at least a quarter of citizens report giving bribes to doctors, teachers, policemen, and other public officials in exchange for services (Transparency International 2019). To decrease the documented negative effects of such widespread bureaucratic corruption on economic and political health of these societies, intergovernmental organizations, anti-corruption NGOs, and individual Western governments spend millions of dollars on reforming their public sectors. These reforms, however, may harm ordinary citizens of authoritarian regimes because public sector corruption sustains unique spaces of freedom, where citizens can collaborate and exchange resources outside of the purview of an oppressive state.


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