High public wages linked to high corruption: research

26 October 2015 - 13:58 By Times LIVE

Researchers studying corruption in 28 EU nations have found that the more corrupt the country - the bigger the gap between public and private sector wages.

The researchers, whose work has been published in PloS One, hypothesised that countries which pay their public servants more than the going rate in the private sector, are more likely to have more corruption.

After examining 28 European economies - this hypothesis was confirmed.

This means that for people who have more reason to lie their way into jobs they can't do in the public sector - because those jobs are low risk and high pay.

Not only that, but dirty politicians will end up stocking their governments with ill qualified cronies whose chief qualification is party loyalty - rather than the ability to do the job.

A government job becomes a reward for party membership.

If this doesn't sound familiar - just consider how many South African civil servants have been caught out with fake qualifications.

What is worse - the corrupt tend to be better at making connections than their honest counterparts, it is how they got their jobs after all.

"Corrupt agents are more connected to one another and are less willing to change their attitudes regarding corruption than non-corrupt agents.

"This behaviour enables them to prevail and become the majority in the workforce through a first-order phase transition,"  the researchers wrote.

In other words, if the corrupt prevail they can use the mechanisms of democracy to stick around.

"Democracy does not create corruption, but it can serve as a mechanism to preserve it in the long run. A transition from a corrupt to a non-corrupt state, and vice-versa, can only be purely random," Vuk Vukovic, one of the economists who authored the study concluded on his blog.