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Fairer Sex or Fairer System? Gender and Corruption Revisited

From: Social Forces
Volume 82, Number 2, December 2003
pp. 703-723 | 10.1353/sof.2004.0028


Two recent influential studies found that larger representations of women in government reduced corruption. Assuming that the observed gender differentials were caused by women's inclinations toward honesty and the common good, both studies advocated increased female participation in government to combat corruption. This study argues that the observed association between gender and corruption is spurious and mainly caused by its context, liberal democracy — a political system that promotes gender equality and better governance. Data favor this "fairer system" thesis.