Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Political Competition, Electoral System and Corruption: the Italian case

Alfano, M. Rosaria and Baraldi, A. Laura and Cantabene, C. (2012): Political Competition, Electoral System and Corruption: the Italian case.

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Abstract

Economic and political literature widely studied the effects of electoral system on corruption. But very little attention has been dedicated to the role of political competition in explaining this relationship. We hypothesize that the proportionality degree of the electoral system impacts political corruption directly and in a conditional way: through the degree of electoral competition among political parties. The estimation results, on a sample of the 20 Italian regions over 26 years, show that both the direct and the indirect effect matter in explaining corruption. As the electoral system becomes more proportional, corruption directly decrease. This beneficial effect is reinforced by an increase in political competition. If, otherwise, the proportionality degree of the electoral system decreases, direct and indirect effect push corruption in opposite directions. Our findings are robust to different estimation techniques and to other measures of proportionality.

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