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The Political Ramifications of Corruption Experience for Political Trust and Pro-Leadership Voting: Evidence from Russia

In: Russian Politics
Authors:
William M. Reisinger Department of Political Science, University of Iowa Iowa City, IA USA

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https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8899-6089
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Marina Zaloznaya Departments of Sociology and Criminology and Political Science, University of Iowa Iowa City, IA USA

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https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2988-1211
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Haofeng Ma Department of Political Science, University of Iowa Iowa City, IA USA

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https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4379-8449
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Abstract

How do citizens’ experiences of corruption affect their political trust and voting behavior? By analyzing a nationally representative survey of Russian citizens conducted a few months after the 2018 presidential election, we find that citizens who engaged in street-level bureaucratic corruption in the preceding two years assess the national leadership as more corrupt and express lower trust in them. This association between corruption engagement and a worsening of people’s views remains even when citizens gained benefits by providing officials with an incentive. We also show that higher perceptions of elite corruption and lower trust in the political leadership are important factors in reducing pro-Kremlin voting. Our findings indicate that even in an authoritarian country citizens’ negative experiences with bureaucracy reduce political support for the national political regime.

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