Detrimental effects of corruption and subjective well-being: Whether, how, and when
Tay, L., Herian, M., & Diener, E. (2014). Detrimental effects of corruption and subjective well-being: Whether, how, and when. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 5(7), 751-759. published online 31 March 2014.
Both corruption and subjective well-being (SWB) are of concern to academics, governments, and policy makers. Although intuition suggests that corruption deteriorates SWB, some evidence suggests that corruption can enhance the economy, which may in turn improve SWB. We seek to explore whether, how, and when corruption is related to SWB using representative data from 150 nations. Surprisingly, we find that perceptions of national corruption are high across many nations. Mediation analyses and longitudinal modeling show some support that national corruption lowers national income and institutional trust, which in turn lowers SWB, particularly for life satisfaction. Moderators were found such that national corruption and individual perceptions of corruption enhance the effect of income for SWB; further, the detrimental effect of national corruption was more pronounced in Western as compared to non-Western nations. Overall, the results provide robust evidence that both individual and societal perceptions of corruption are detrimental to SWB.
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