Social Indicators Research

, Volume 141, Issue 2, pp 685–701 | Cite as

Perceived Corruption and Individuals’ Life Satisfaction: The Mediating Role of Institutional Trust

  • Marco CizicenoEmail author
  • Giovanni A. Travaglino


Corruption degrades the quality of institutions, increases economic inequality and limits growth. Recent studies indicate that corruption is also associated with lower satisfaction with life. This research examines a potential explanation for this association and investigates the role of institutional trust in mediating the linkage between perceived corruption and satisfaction with life. Specifically, in two studies, we tested the novel hypothesises that perceived corruption affects life satisfaction indirectly by undermining individuals’ confidence in institutions. Study 1 (N = 251) involved an opportunity sample from the US. Study 2 (N = 9508) analysed data from the World Value Survey and involved a larger, representative sample of individuals from the MENA region. Across studies, mediation analyses provided evidence for the hypothesized indirect effect of perceived corruption on life satisfaction through institutional trust. Implications of the findings, limitations of the studies and directions for future research are discussed.


Corruption Trust Life satisfaction Well-being 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Economic SciencesUniversity of PalermoPalermoItaly
  2. 2.Centre for the Study of Group Processes, School of PsychologyUniversity of KentCanterburyUK
  3. 3.School of Humanities and Social ScienceThe Chinese University of Hong KongShenzhenChina

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