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Kilkon Ko and Seong-Gin Moon. (2014) The relationship between religion and corruption: are the proposed causal links empirically valid?. International Review of Public Administration 19(1). 44-62
There is a growing interest in understanding how religion affects corruption. Many empirical studies have suggested that countries with strong hierarchical religions (such as Islam, Catholicism and Orthodox Christianity) are more likely to suffer from corruption. These results are, however, controversial, largely due to the lack of empirical validity of the causal (or theoretical) links that explain such a relationship: obedience to authority, negative culture reinforcement, amoral familism and trust intermediation. Using the fourth wave World Values Survey (n = 87,988) of 64 countries, this study constructed a general estimation equation model to evaluate these four causal links after controlling for heterogeneity of individuals’ religious beliefs among the 64 countries. We did not find strong evidentiary support for the causal explanations.
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