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Psychological dimension of corruption: How are citizens likely to support anti-corruption policies in Azerbaijan?

Turkhan Sadigov (Independent Researcher, Baku, Azerbaijan)

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy

ISSN: 0144-333X

Article publication date: 11 June 2018



The purpose of this paper is to explore relatively neglected side of corruption – citizen-initiated bribe offers – to identify the degree to which citizens on the grassroots level are ready to support top-down government anti-corruption policies.


Drawing on Avessalom Podvodny’s framework of modalities, this research analyzes the results of the nationally representative survey of 1,002 respondents, and ten in-depth interviews – both held in Azerbaijan. The author uses both logistic regression and qualitative description to highlight research inferences.


Modalities provide a new way of making sense of the factors affecting corruption, and informality. Bribe offers are associated with imbalance within Local-Global, Symbol-Content, Active-Passive pairs of modalities. All of the relevant independent variables (except for one), drawn from relevant theories and organized around modalities, are statistically significant in predicting bribe offers.

Research limitations/implications

The paper is able to pose and answer fundamental policy questions: why villagers in Azerbaijan prefer to invest in building mosques and cemeteries rather than schools and kindergartens? Why insurance is not perceived as a sphere of business by the Azerbaijani population? On a practical level, the paper shows that governments’ selective focus on bureaucratic graft neglects formidable argument that the problem of corruption is tightly woven into political culture of a post-Soviet society. Simple administrative measures cannot overcome fundamental value orientations within a society.


The paper adds to corruption researchers’ toolkit, by expanding research to factors affecting citizen voluntary choices to bribe. The research shows what specific variables should be considered and which of them are statistically significant in explaining citizen choices.



Sadigov, T. (2018), "Psychological dimension of corruption: How are citizens likely to support anti-corruption policies in Azerbaijan?", International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 38 No. 5-6, pp. 484-508.



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