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Europe’s “democratic culture” in the fight against corruption

Crime, Law and Social Change

Published online on



This study investigates the influencing factors of corruption in Europe over the period of 1995–2013. Considering corruption as a cultural, multilevel phenomenon, the project proposes the design of models at both the micro and macro levels, allowing for panel-analyses as well as cross- and within-national comparisons. The findings reveal that a bundle of factors adding up to a specific “democratic culture” in Europe that hinders the growth of corruption by generating strong democratic institutions and fostering citizen norms and values aimed at monitoring and sanctioning corrupt actors. As a result, democracy promotion was and it is still the best remedy against corruption spread in Europe. The article emphasizes the relevance and need of area- and cultural-specific knowledge of factors affecting corruption.