MetaTOC stay on top of your field, easily

Petty corruption in Central and Eastern Europe: the client’s perspective

Crime, Law and Social Change

Published online on


This qualitative study examines the role of clients in petty corruption by analyzing actual corrupt exchanges between ordinary citizens and low level public and private employees in post-communist Hungary. Using a grounded theory approach, interviews reveal how clients from different social strata deal with low-level agents in corrupt situations. Findings suggest two contrasting forms of low-level corruption: transactions where the client and the agent do not have a prior relationship and where external factors dominate the relationship; and cases with stronger social ties between the actors, where the client has more freedom to structure the transaction. However, a client's social background frequently determines the form of corrupt transaction and the form of resources illegally exchanged in the deal.