Cultural values, national personality characteristics, and intelligence as correlates of corruption: A nation level analysis

Gaygısız E., Lajunen T.

Heliyon, vol.8, no.5, 2022 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 8 Issue: 5
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2022.e09506
  • Journal Name: Heliyon
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), Scopus, CAB Abstracts, Food Science & Technology Abstracts, Veterinary Science Database, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Keywords: Corruption, Culture, Personality, Gross domestic product, IQ, QUESTIONNAIRE, PERCEPTIONS
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


© 2022 The Author(s)Research on national corruption has primarily focused on economics and politics, whereas cultural factors and especially national personality characteristics have attracted less attention. In the present study, the influence of Hofstede's cultural dimensions, Schwartz's values, Eysenckian personality factors (EPQ), and national intelligent quotient (IQ) on Corruption Perception Index (CPI) scores were studied by using aggregated data from 64 countries and ecological design, i.e., correlations, partial correlations, multiple regression analyses, and mediation and moderation analyses. The sub-datasets included 35 countries for the EPQ, 46 countries for the Hofstede cultural values, 30 countries for the Schwartz value dimensions, and all 64 countries for the IQ. Both partial correlations and regression analyses in which GDP per capita was controlled emphasized the importance of national income in corruption so that high income was negatively related to CPI scores. Regression analysis results showed that the EPQ Lie scores, Hofstede's power distance, and masculinity, as well as Schwartz's hierarchy, mastery, and harmony, were positively, and individualism and intelligence negatively related to corruption. The mediation analyses showed that the effects of cultural values on corruption were mostly mediated by income (GDP per capita). Hence, the national culture influences the national income level, which, in turn, is related to corruption. The effect of individualism on corruption was moderated by income so that individualism was negatively related to corruption in countries with lower income. The results suggest that cultural factors should be considered in corruption studies and anti-corruption policies. Without taking into account the national cultural values, anti-corruption policies might not be perceived well by the public, compromising the effects of the interventions.