Supervisor: prof Tiina Randma-Liiv (Tallinna Tehnikaülikool)
Opponent: dr Luis de Sousa (Lissaboni Ülikool)
The aim of this dissertation is to contribute to the theory of corruption. It will look at the opportunity structures of corruption, and examine the relation between trust and the aspects of corruption. The dissertation is based on three original publications, which are based on empirical studies accomplished by the author of the dissertation. The research questions of the thesis are: (1) What is the role of management in establishing anti-corruption organizational culture in law enforcement agencies? (2) Which factors influence attitudes towards corruption? (3) What are the factors influencing punitive attitudes? Do these differ in respect of thieves and corruption offenders? The introduction of this dissertation provides a theoretical framework for analysing corruption. It takes the existing structure of James William Coleman's (1987) integrated theory of white-collar crimes, the main elements of which are culture and opportunities, and adjusts it for explaining corruption. Culture of competition contains conditions favourable to corruption, while opportunities define the probability of corruption. Trust, being a cultural factor, can have an effect on corruption - high levels of particularised social trust, low levels of generalised trust and lack of political trust create conditions favourable to corruption. According to Coleman's framework the opportunities derive from four domains: law and enforcement, sectors, organizations and occupations. The list of opportunities to corruption range from: clarity of the laws, independence and cleanness of the judiciary and law enforcement authorities, enforceability of the punishments, transparency of the decision making process, accountability, supervision, clarity of responsibility, principles of recruitment and fairness of salary, the amount of public money in transactions, scarce resources, power and responsibilities for finances, awareness of corruption, to organizational procedures in place, to mention some. In respect of the research questions, it is demonstrated in the thesis: I The role of managers in establishing an anti-corruption organizational culture is by far more important than managers themselves perceive. The study outlines the reasons that contribute to failure of anti-corruption policies and points to the relevant general shortcomings in managerial skills, it contributes to the value-based approach to corruption. The thesis shows that (1) corruption is seen by managers mainly as a problem of the street level staff, (2) individual staff members' ability to resist corruption is considered to be determined by their knowledge of the relevant legal definitions and sanctions, (3) control methods are considered to be the most effective means of curbing corruption. The result of such a way of thinking in practical terms is placing emphasis on tackling low-level corruption and preferring control methods over trust-building methods in curbing corruption. II Differences in awareness of and opinions about corruption can be explained by differences in the level of institutional trust and in certain socio-demographic factors such as age and ethnicity. When institutions are trusted more, corruption is found less tolerable and it is defined more 'accurately'. It is assumed that the reason why trust is relevant in public officials' awareness of corruption and the extent to which they are ready to condemn corruption, is because those with higher levels of trust would have higher expectations for institutions and would place more confidence in them, and therefore breaches of moral norms by state representatives are likely to entail a stronger condemnation from those who trusted them more. III The study demonstrates that people's sentencing preferences are harsher in the case of corruption offenders than in the case of thieves. This is probably because corruption offenders are perceived as being more harmful than thieves. The variables influencing punitive attitudes are different in respect of thieves and corruption offenders. Gender, ethnicity and personal income are the best predictors of punitive attitudes towards corruption offenders, while trust in politicians can explain punitive attitudes in respect of thieves. The reasons why those who trust politicians would like to see thieves punished less severely, is presumably because they are more satisfied with life and less concerned with the crime situation and they feel more secure and do not see criminals as threat to society. This does not mean that political trust does not have an effect on penal attitudes concerning corruption offenders, yet, it might have through more complex ways. For example, it is proposed that the reason why non-Estonians would like corruption offenders to be punished more severely is because of alienation from the power, thus hinting at the lack of political trust.