Understanding and addressing citizens' perceptions of corruption: The case of Spain

Patria de Lancer Julnes, Manuel Villoria

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Current theories and approaches to study and combat corruption have questionable applicability in countries with low systemic corruption and high perceptions of corruption. Further, the circular nature of corruption requires a more nuanced understanding of the complexities involved. We argue that understanding the determinants of perceptions of corruption, defined in more refined ways, holds promise in suggesting solutions for reducing corruption. To that end, we developed a model that seeks to answer two important questions: (1) what factors influence citizen perceptions of corruption, and how do they differ in relation to two different sets of government actors? And (2) in what ways might factors affecting perceptions of corruption interact to yield moderated relationships? Using the responses to a survey from 2500 citizens in Spain in 2009, we tested the model and found that personal characteristics, attitudes and media exposure have predicted differences in accounting for perceptions of corruption for different government actors. Beyond these direct findings, analysis of interactions of these explanatory factors revealed moderated relationships that have additional implications for public administrators and scholars interested in curbing corruption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-43
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Review of Public Administration
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Administration


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