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Corruption, Trust, Inclusion and Cohesion in North Africa and the Middle East

Roger Sapsford, Gerasimos Tsourapas, Pamela Abbott, Andrea Teti (2017)

Key facts

Type of publication
Journal article
Elements of social cohesion
Trust
Participation
Cooperation
Connectedness
Geographical focus
Middle East and North Africa
Main thematic areas
Economic development
Political institutions & governance
Development cooperation

Summary

Corruption provokes much anger in the Middle East and North African (MENA) and was important in the Arab Uprisings; it was government corruption that sparked the greatest anger among the population. The argument of this Report is (a) that corruption is a major and obvious breach of trust, (b) that the same is true for ‘civil’ corruption – ‘wasta’ in employment, business corruption – (c) that as well as not trusting their government and its institutions, MENA residents do not trust each other either, to the detriment of maintaining functional nation states without coercion, and (d) that corruption is a special case of breach of the Rule of Law which is essential for a decent society. The initial focus on corruption leads to consideration of what people think they can reasonably expect from government and from each other. Ultimately, corruption divides the society into those who extort bribes or dispense favours and those who are required to pay bribes and are excluded from favour – in other words, there is a breakdown of social inclusion. Further, it destroys trust between people and trust in social institutions, which breaks the cords that hold modern societies together - it is an attack on social cohesion. The article is based mainly on the Arab Transformations Survey, carried out in six developing MENA countries in 2014, three years after the ‘Arab Spring’.

Publication_2017_Roger Sapsford, Gerasimos Tsourapas, Pamela Abbott, Andrea Teti

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