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Whither morality? 'finding God' in the fight against corruption

Marquette, Heather (2010) Whither morality? 'finding God' in the fight against corruption. Working Paper. University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK.

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URL of Published Version: http://www.religionsanddevelopment.org/files/resourcesmodule/@random454f80f60b3f4/1274702441_Working_Paper_41_complete_for_web.pdf

Identification Number/DOI: ISBN: 070442780X/ 9780704427808

Abstract

There are growing calls for religion to be used in the fight against corruption, based on the assumption that religious people are more concerned with ethics than the non-religious, despite the fact that many of the most corrupt countries in the world also rank highly in terms of religiosity. This paper explores how the new ‘myth’ about the relationship between religion and corruption is based on assumptions not borne out through the evidence. The paper then examines whether a discursive relationship exists instead, and what the significance of such a relationship might be.

Based on a review of several studies of the statistical relationships between religion and corruption, the paper concludes that the evidence for a causal relationship between religion (or type of religion) and either higher or lower levels of corruption is in no way convincing. The methodologies that have been employed thus far are insufficient for proving – one way or another – a causal relationship. This literature is largely quantitative, with a dearth of empirical, fieldwork-based evidence. The results are often contradictory, depending upon which dataset has been used, which raises important methodological issues. The literature is tentative at best, offering comparisons between various datasets and pointing towards possible explanations, sometimes rooted in theory, sometimes not. The
data used are often flawed, making the explanations that are advanced problematic. The data are aggregated at the country level; they do not reveal intra-country variations and cannot tell us anything about how individuals’ attitudes towards corruption are formed, the impact of religious (and other socio-cultural influences) on attitude formation, or the ways that individuals condemn or justify corrupt behaviour using the language of religion.

Type of Work:Monograph (Working Paper)
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
Number of Pages:23
Department:International Development Department
Projects:Religions and Development Research Programme
Series/Collection Name:RaD Working Papers Series
Keywords:Religion, Governance, Corruption, Morality
Subjects:H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Related URLs:
URLURL Type
http://www.religionsanddevelopment.org/UNSPECIFIED
Funders:UKAID, Department for International Development
Copyright Status:University of Birmingham, 2010
Copyright Holders:University of Birmingham
ID Code:1648

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