Corruption tolerance as a process of moral, social, and political cognition: evidence from Latin America
Crime, Law and Social Change
Abstract: While corruption is commonly understood in behavioral terms, the dominance of political and economic approaches has hindered the integration of relevant psychological insights into the (anti-)corruption mainstream, causing a rift between the examination of social determinants and their assessment within a process of individual decision-making. The present study offers a model that combines moral, social, and political factors to explore the cognitive processes behind corruption tolerance, operationalized here as attitudinal, intended, and behavioral responses to a bribery event. Using data from 1651 survey respondents across Latin America, it empirically tests the impact of key variables over the formation of individual attitude, intention, and behavior, taking into account the conditions and situations in which it arises. The results show that the decision to engage in petty bribery responds significantly and consistently to the individual’s tendency toward moral disengagement, and the centrality of their moral identity.
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