Are We Really That Corrupt? Citizens' Perception Of Corruption In Uganda

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Sociology and Anthropology


Master of Arts

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The thesis examines the relationship between citizen's perception of corruption and the development trajectory of Uganda. Uganda has long been hailed as a model of economic reform, owing to its remarkable recovery from the doldrums of economic decline in the early-to-mid 1980s. Uganda's economic fortunes since 1986 have coincided with a dramatic increase in corruption. Even more intriguing is the perception that incidences of corruption have increased alongside Uganda's evolution into a democracy. Such observations have inspired an interest in the central question of this thesis on the relationship between corruption and development. The Theory of Extractive Corruption posits that the elite use the state apparatus as their instrument to extract resources from society, for the benefit of the rulers. With this in mind, I reexamine Uganda's view of corruption in their society to see if they correspond to developmental indicators. Secondary data was used to analyze the hypothesis. This was obtained from the longitudinal studies by `Afrobarometer,' a policy research institution. Correlation statistical techniques were applied to analyze the bivariate association between the corruption and development variables, while logistic regression analysis predicted the odds of a dependent variable from the independent variable. The investigation is framed by a set of dependent variables representing development (quality of health, quality of education, quality of roads, civil unrest, availability of employment and standard of living) and another set of independent variables representing corruption (bribery, embezzlement and nepotism). The study is beneficial in that it seeks to highlight how Ugandans assess development in their country as well the way their public officials should lead. Future research could look at the impact of civil society in changing undemocratic processes. The most significant findings of the research are: that perception of government bribery seems to have a positive relationship with poor living conditions; and people in urban and rural areas have significantly different perceptions of the impact of corruption on development. These findings indicate that the citizens believe that there is a unique behavioral pattern that may provide evidence on the trends of perceptions of corruption and the level of development of the citizens Uganda.