Explaining Corruption in the Baltic States

Sigita Urdze (Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany)

Corruption is a major problem in the Baltic States. However there are significant differences in the level of corruption between the three states. Data by Transparency International shows that Estonia’s corruption level is constantly decreasing and slowly but steadily approaching Western European level. Latvia’s and Lithuania’s corruption levels have improved as well but still more resemble that of other Central and Eastern European states. From the actual level of corruption one has to differentiate the level of individuals’ perception of corruption (Loveless/Whitefield 2011). In this regard there are far less differences between the Baltic States. The proposed paper wants to first give an overview on the actual level of corruption as well as on the level of individuals’ perception of corruption in the Baltic States. The second part tries to answer the question how the development of the corruption levels and the differences between the two level types can be explained. The explanation of the actual level of corruption includes as influential factors: (1) history and culture, (2) economic development, (3) political institutions, (4) anti-corruption policies. The explanation of individuals’ perception of corruption includes: (1) different understandings of the term “corruption”, (2) awareness of corruption as a problem, (3) perception of anti-corruption-policies, (4) ethnical aspects, (5) perceived inequality.

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