Quotation Wachs, Johannes, Yasseri, Taha, Lengyel, Balazs, Kertesz, Janos. 2019. Social capital predicts corruption risk in towns. Royal Society Open Science. 6 (4)




Corruption is a social plague: gains accrue to small groups, while its costs are borne by everyone. Significant variation in its level between and within countries suggests a relationship between social structure and the prevalence of corruption, yet, large-scale empirical studies thereof have been missing due to lack of data. In this paper, we relate the structural characteristics of social capital of settlements with corruption in their local governments. Using datasets from Hungary, we quantify corruption risk by suppressed competition and lack of transparency in the settlement’s awarded public contracts. We characterize social capital using social network data from a popular online platform. Controlling for social, economic and political factors, we find that settlements with fragmented social networks, indicating an excess of bonding social capital has higher corruption risk, and settlements with more diverse external connectivity, suggesting a surplus of bridging social capital is less exposed to corruption. We interpret fragmentation as fostering in-group favouritism and conformity, which increase corruption, while diversity facilitates impartiality in public life and stifles corruption.


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Status of publication Published
Affiliation External
Type of publication Journal article
Journal Royal Society Open Science
Citation Index SCI
Language English
Title Social capital predicts corruption risk in towns
Volume 6
Number 4
Year 2019
URL https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rsos.182103
DOI https://doi.org/10.1098/rsos.182103
Open Access Y
Open Access Link https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rsos.182103


Wachs, Johannes (Details)
Kertesz, Janos (CEU, Hungary)
Lengyel, Balazs (Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Hungary)
Yasseri, Taha (Oxford, United Kingdom)
Research areas (ÖSTAT Classification 'Statistik Austria')
1126 Computer networks (Details)
5413 Sociological methods (Details)
5415 Economic sociology (Details)
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