External Territorial Threats and Tolerance of Corruption: A Private/Government Distinction

  • 1 Department of Political Science, Clemson, SC, USA
Steven V. MillerORCID iD: http://orcid.org/0000-0003-4072-6263


What makes individuals tolerate government corruption? Can citizens tolerate government corruption but be intolerant of corrupt behavior in society? I argue not all attitudes toward corruption are the same. External territorial threats elicit a tolerance of government corruption since citizens allow for government corruption when they are concerned for their security. However, citizens become intolerant of corruption in society because they view this as maximizing individual welfare at the expense of the common good (i.e. security). Using data from three unique cross-national surveys, I find that citizens under territorial threat are less likely to think corruption is an important problem, are more likely to tolerate government corruption, but are less likely to tolerate corruption by private citizens.

    • Supplementary material
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