Cognitive ability and corruption: rule of law (still) matters

  • Mohammad Reza FarzaneganEmail author


This study shows that the “longer time horizon” argument proposed by Potrafke (Econ Lett, 2012. with regard to the negative effect of a higher national average cognitive ability on corruption holds only for countries with a relatively high quality of legal systems. Using a sample of 94 countries from around the world, our cross-country regression analyses show the moderating role of rule of law in the final effects of cognitive abilities on corruption. The results are robust after using different indicators of corruption, rule of law and cognitive skills.


Corruption Intelligence Cognitive Rule of law 

JEL Classification

A13 D91 E71 D73 E02 



I am grateful to two anonymous referees for their helpful and constructive comments. I also thank the CESifo and Niklas Potrafke in Munich for hosting me while working on this paper.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philipps-Universität Marburg, Center for Near and Middle Eastern Studies (CNMS), School of Business and Economics, Economics of the Middle East Research GroupMarburgGermany

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