The Causes of Corruption in Postcommunist Countries
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Publish date: 2010-04-30
Gospodarka Narodowa 2010;239(4):67–87
The paper provides an empirical analysis of the causes of corruption in postcommunist countries. Researchers vary in their evaluation of how economic policy instruments and structural factors influence the level of corruption in these countries, Goczek says. He looks at the two main hypotheses about the sources of corruption in the region. The first hypothesis holds that the current level of corruption in postcommunist countries is largely due to what happened under communism, including the institutional standards of the time. The other hypothesis is that these countries’ transition from central planning to a market economy is largely responsible for the current level of corruption in the region. Both models discussed in the article proved to be useful in explaining the level of perceived corruption in postcommunist countries, the author says. In the first model, Goczek checked if the current scope of corruption has its roots in these countries’ communist past. The empirical study showed that the more economically developed a particular country was in 1989, the more successful it was in dealing with the problem of corruption. Generally, the extent of central planning in the economy proved to be the most significant factor, Goczek says. He argues that the level of perceived corruption in a given country depended on the scope of central planning and the resulting market disturbance. In the second model discussed in the paper, the author tries to check if market reforms contributed to an increase in corruption in Central and Eastern Europe. According to some researchers, wide-ranging redistribution processes linked with privatization and liberalization in the economy frequently encouraged corruption after the fall of communism. Goczek’s analysis of economic policy choices reveals that the level of corruption in Central and Eastern Europe is lower than in the former Soviet Union. While most Central and Eastern European countries as well as the Baltic states introduced far-reaching economic reforms at the start of transition, Goczek says, former Soviet republics dragged their feet on such reforms. As a result, the levels of corruption in these two regions differ considerably. Generally, those countries that quickly carried out economic reforms managed to arrest and even reverse the progress of corruption after the fall of communism, Goczek concludes.