chapter  2
21 Pages

Trust, corruption, and inequality

In highly unequal societies, the rich subvert the political, regulatory, and legal institutions of society for their own benefit. Corruption and inequality wreak havoc with the moral sense. Where corruption is widespread, people realise that they are not the masters of their own fate – and they lose faith that their future will be bright. The chapter examines how corruption and inequality affect generalised trust and confidence in government. It focuses on perceptions of corruption but objective measures of inequality are used. The Gallup World Poll is the most comprehensive cross-national survey project. It covers a wide range of countries through either face-to-face or telephone interviews. The World Poll has several measures of petty corruption: paying bribes for medical services, to the police, to avoid taxes, to get government contracts, to obtain an apartment, or to gain admission to university or to a school for the child.