Veto Players and Corruption

Nara Pavao (University of Notre Dame)

Abstract: This paper argues that veto players theory is particularly useful in examining the phenomenon of corruption. After developing some possible theoretical connections between these two elements, I empirically assess the consistency of this relationship using data from Latin American and European countries. The results support the hypothesis that the perception of corruption is higher in systems with more veto players. Ideological distance, in turn, was found to be negatively correlated with perceived corruption. Similarly, a significant and positive correlation between the number of veto players and the incidence of corruption scandals was found. The linear regression test for the ideological distance between veto players and corruption scandals was, however, not significant. The argument that the number of veto players of a given political system can increase corrupt practices was borne out by the empirical tests undertaken in this paper. However, this is a very ambitious and complex assumption that still needs to be further tested and analyzed. Both the findings and the considerations pointed out here serve as a good starting point for a broader research agenda that I intend to pursue in the near future.