Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 122, Issue 4, pp 697–708 | Cite as

Does Corruption Have Social Roots? The Role of Culture and Social Capital

  • José Atilano Pena López
  • José Manuel Sánchez Santos


The aim of this work is to analyse the influence of sociocultural factors on corruption levels. Taking as starting point Husted (J Int Bus Studies 30:339–359, 1999) and Graeff (In: Lambsdorff J, Taube M, Schramm M (eds) The new institutional economics of corruption. Routledge, London, 2005) proposals, we consider both the interrelation between cultural dimensions and the diverse expressions of social capital with corruption. According to our results, the universalistic trust (linking and bridging social capital) constitutes a positive social capital that is negatively linked to corruption. In contrast, the particularistic levels of trust (bonding) can constitute a negative social capital directly related to corruption levels. Furthermore, cultures which are favourable to the legitimation of dependency relations and the formation of closed particularistic groups (power-distance and community factors) create a breeding ground for the development of these amoral rent-seeking structures.


Social capital Corruption Cultural factors New Economic Sociology 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • José Atilano Pena López
    • 1
  • José Manuel Sánchez Santos
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Applied EconomicsUniversity of A CoruñaLa CoruñaSpain

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