The purpose of this paper is to use open-source Russian government data to investigate the relationship between transparency and corruption. Russia is a developed country with a strong legal system and world-class transparency in government contracting, which according to many, should positively impact corruption. This study tests that hypothesis.
The paper statistically analyzes six months’ worth of Russian government contracts from a single Russian province and another month of data from a different province for comparison. The statistical analysis revealed individual instances of corruption, which were then analyzed qualitatively.
The paper found that competitiveness in Russian government contracting is extremely limited, and instances of corruption on a grand scale are easy to find in publicly available data.
The paper only studied data from two Russian provinces, so readers should be careful about generalizing from the results. Further research should consider similar data, if obtainable, from other countries.
Countries seeking to limit corruption should consider cultural change, as well as modifications to government processes and legal systems.
The paper indicates that sound and transparent legal structures, by themselves, may be insufficient to prevent or discourage corruption.
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