Corruption, Trust, and Inequality in Modern Societies

Saturday, July 19, 2014: 11:30 AM
Room: Booth 51
Distributed Paper
Yana ARDELYANOVA , Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia
Social inequality and corruption are now the significant economic and social problems, not only in developing countries but also world over.

Often, corruption is studied in the context of economic development, and social inequality is considered in conjunction with the social structure of society. We suggest to pay attention to this issue as the relationship of corruption and inequality in modern societies, and to expand it with the category of trust, which is certainly an important concept in modern societies.

There are different points of view of modern research on the relationship of corruption and social inequality. We propose to examine this relationship and to interpret it based on the current social situation.

First, it should be noted that there is a direct link between the levels of corruption and inequality. The high level of corruption is usually associated with high levels of inequality.  But the hypothesis of a strong direct relationship between these concepts is controversial.

In this linkage is missing one important element, which is also a significant problem of modern societies and is closely linked with corruption and inequality.  It is a problem of trust.

Trust is one of the socio-psychological foundations of social cohesion and largely determines the dynamics of the basic social processes, the integrity of the society.

The path from inequality to corruption may be indirect through trust, but this relationship is a key to understanding why some societies are more corrupt than others.

But it is not so simple. If we look cross-country studies, the correlation between inequality and corruption is weak. But exactly correct to say that inequality leads to corruption increase by the trust. Inequality and corruption are not directly related, there are deviations from this relationship.