The Relevance of Political Science
Edited by Sören Holmberg and Bo Rothstein
Chapter 12: Why Women are Less Corrupt than Men
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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