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Effects of the Introduction of Merit Civil Service Legislation on Reelection Rates in the U.S.

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We conduct parallel surveys of legislators and citizens in three countries to understand tolerance of corruption. In Colombia, Italy, and Pakistan, legislator and citizen respondents share similar views, based on responses to hypothetical scenarios that involve trade-offs between, for example, probity and efficiency: both groups perceive corruption as prevalent and undesirable. These novel descriptive data further reveal that political elites generally have accurate beliefs about public opinion on corruption and appreciate its policy relevance (despite the failure of legislators to follow through on a behavioral prompt to exhibit anti-corruption policy leadership). An information treatment updates the beliefs of legislators who overestimate citizens' anti-corruption preferences and produces adjustments. Overall, results suggest that barriers to effective anti-corruption policies do not lie with lack of information by legislators. We also present descriptive findings that show that tolerance of corruption is predicted by some politician attributes, most notably motivations for entering politics.


Miriam Golden holds the Peter Mair Chair in Comparative Politics at the European University Institute. She uses multiple research methods to investigate the political economy of governance, political representation, and corruption in countries around the world. Golden is currently engaged in a large-scale cross-national and historical study of how and when politicians secure reelection and has recently published The Puzzle of Clientelism: Political Discretion and Elections Around the World (Cambridge University Press, 2023) with Eugenia Nazrullaeva. Her articles have been published in The American Political Science Review, the American Journal of Political ScienceThe Annual Review of Political ScienceLegislative Studies Quarterly, and the British Journal of Political Science. She has been a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study of Behavioral Sciences and a recipient of a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

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