The Implications of Endemic Corruption for State Legitimacy in Developing Nations: an Empirical Exploration of the Nigerian Case

  • Natalie Delia Deckard
  • Zacharias Pieri


There is an extensive literature on the ramifications of corruption for economic growth, as well as for democracy. Largely unexplored, however, is how corruption works to lessen government legitimacy and empower violent anti-state movements. In this article, the perception of corruption in Nigeria is considered. Noting that Nigeria must suppress the violent extremist group Boko Haram in order to continue to govern the nation, the connections between Nigerian perceptions of corruption and support for the movement are treated. Until this research, however, there existed no empirical evaluation of this relationship. Using analysis of a survey of over 10,000 Nigerians accomplished in 2012 and 2013, we show that issues of state illegitimacy and endemic corruption have contributed to Nigeria’s present security crisis by fomenting support for non-state violent actors.


Corruption Legitimacy Social movements Boko Haram 


Compliance with Ethical Standards


This study was funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Award Number FA9550-12-1-0096.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyDavidson CollegeDavidsonUSA
  2. 2.Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, College of Arts and SciencesUniversity of South Florida-SarasotaSarasotaUSA

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