Where Have All the Non-Corrupt Civil Servants Gone? Corruption and Trust in Public Administration in European Countries
 
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University of Hradec Králové
Publication date: 2020-09-29
 
Polish Sociological Review 2020;211(3):345–362
 
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ABSTRACT
This article deals with corruption and trust in the public administration of nine countries of the former Western bloc and neutral states, which underwent different institutional development compared to post-communist countries, which were susceptible to corruption due to a strongly centralized public administration with complex decision-making processes and the considerable power of officials. Despite the different institutional development of the public administration in Western countries, these countries are not always perceived by the public as trustworthy and not corrupt. This article reveals that in countries like Switzerland, Norway, and Finland, civil servants are perceived by the public as rather trustworthy and not corrupt, whereas in countries like Spain and France, the opposite is true. Using statistical methods, this article also demonstrates that the perception of the involvement of civil servants in corruption and their unequal treatment of citizens diminishes their trust in the eyes of the public. The experience of respondents with bribery on the part of civil servants reduces confidence in the public administration in only two states. In the other seven, this variable was statistically insignificant.
FUNDING
This work was supported by the Philosophical faculty of the University of Hradec Králové, Rokitanského 62, 500 03, Hradec Králové, Czech Republic (Specific research grant “Corruption in relation to political participation and trust”).
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