How to Determine Vulnerability to Grass-Roots Corruption

This four-page note outlines methodological considerations for researchers examining people's vulnerability to bribery. It discusses the benefits and limitations of using sample survey data to gauge vulnerability to grass-roots corruption, and explains the importance of a two-step approach that asks if people have had contact with the state as well as if they have paid a bribe.

While survey data may not be able to offer rich detail about when and how bribery occurs, it offers a generalizable picture of how often bribery is experienced and by whom. It is therefore the tool that should be used to draw inferences about who is most vulnerable to grass-roots corruption.

A two-step methodological approach distinguishes between people who have not paid a bribe because they have not had contact with the state (used state services), and people who did have contact yet did not pay a bribe. This approach illuminates how variables influence whether someone has contact with the state, and why some people are more vulnerable to grass-roots corruption than others. Understanding both is important for an effective policy response.

About DLP

The Developmental Leadership Program (DLP) is an international research initiative that explores how leadership, power and political processes drive or block successful development.

DLP focuses on the crucial role of home-grown leaderships and coalitions in forging legitimate political settlements and institutions that promote developmental outcomes, such as sustainable growth, political stability and inclusive social development.

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