Good Government

Good Government

The Relevance of Political Science

Edited by Sören Holmberg and Bo Rothstein

In all societies, the quality of government institutions is of the utmost importance for the well-being of its citizens. Problems like high infant mortality, lack of access to safe water, unhappiness and poverty are not primarily caused by a lack of technical equipment, effective medicines or other types of knowledge generated by the natural or engineering sciences. Instead, the critical problem is that the majority of the world’s population live in societies that have dysfunctional government institutions. Central issues discussed in the book include: how can good government be conceptualized and measured, what are the effects of ‘bad government’ and how can the quality of government be improved?

Chapter 12: Why Women are Less Corrupt than Men

Lena Wängnerud

Subjects: development studies, development studies, politics and public policy, international politics, political economy, public policy, regulation and governance

Extract

Lena Wängnerud* Why should we care about the link between gender and corruption? The short answer is that it tells us something about how societies progress. Cross-country comparative research has established that societies that elect large numbers of women tend to be less corrupt than societies that elect few women (Dollar et al. 2001; Swamy et al. 2001). In a similar vein, research at the individual level has presented evidence that women tend to be less involved in corruption than men (Bailey and Paras 2006; Treisman 2007; Melnykovska and Michailova 2009). Whether these patterns have anything to do with gender, however, is disputed. The suggestion has been made that liberal democracy is the denominator for good governance as well as for gender equality (Sung 2003). The suggestion has also been made that the crucial factor is the access people have to situations where corrupt transactions take place; that is, due to their responsibilities in the private sphere, women are filtered out in earlier stages (Mocan 2008). What is common to both these strands of research is that they tone down the importance of the gender factor. The main argument of this chapter is that the way research in the field is currently developing suppresses theoretical progress. Scholars are far too occupied with constructing or rejecting monolithic theories, that is, theories with the ambition to offer a foundation for all cases within a certain area. There is a need to develop a framework where multiple theories are used to study...

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