New book on Paying Bribes for Public Services
Extensive survey data based on interviews with 250,000 people in 119 countries underpin a new book on public service corruption co-authored by DLP research fellow Caryn Peiffer.
Paying Bribes for Public Services by Richard Rose, Professor of Politics at Strathclyde University, and Caryn Peiffer, reveals that about 1.6 billion people around the world pay bribes each year to use basic public services. The evidence for their analysis is based on Barometer surveys in Africa, Asia, the European Union, post-communist Europe and Latin America.
There are wide variations in the frequency of bribery demands and payments between countries, and between services and individuals within each country. However, in most countries where corruption is a significant problem, the public services affected range from healthcare and education to encounters with civil or military law enforcement personnel.
Citizens who pay bribes are sometimes perceived as responsible for encouraging corruption. However the survey data used for this analysis shows that for many, the only alternative is to go without healthcare, or to see their children excluded from education.
Professor Rose and Dr Peiffer suggest six principles for reducing public service corruption. They propose the reduction of bureaucracy and the introduction of computerised systems to reduce face-to-face contact between officials and service users. They also suggest that reducing scarcity of services and allocating access to them on the basis of objective criteria would make corruption less viable. Finally, it is important to both offer a choice of service providers, whether public, not-for-profit or private institutions, and reward the service ethic of public servants.