Corruption at Household Level in Cameroon: Assessing Major Determinants

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Timnou, Joseph-Pierre
Feunon, Dorine K.
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Corruption is a major blight on modern society. It is acute in sub-Saharan Africa, a region that has suffered economic ills for many years. It is difficult to tackle the problem due to its politically sensitive nature. Indeed, top officers are viewed as generally corrupt. Corruption is a topical issue in almost all countries in the region. Nevertheless, relevant empirical research is lacking, especially in countries where corruption is rampant. Existing studies highlight illegal practices in trade, finances, international relations, etc., but there are still many aspects to be addressed. Cameroon is one of the most corrupt countries in the world, although the situation is improving each year according to the Corruption Perception Index issued by Transparency International. Today, the fight against corruption is part of the government agenda but important changes are yet to come. The household survey carried out in 2001 examined elements of corruption in common household domains like health, education, security and other services including external community variables. This can be termed petty corruption. This paper tries to explain if there are large differences between communities that can be explained by community variables. Simple analysis using two variables shows important variations in the level of petty corruption, notably according to regions (increasing from rural to urban areas) with the poor being less likely to give bribes. Using multivariate analysis it appears that: a) modernization is associated with petty corruption; b) political environment does not really matter, except the influence of city councils; c) expenditure and level of education do not show similar trends; d) civil servants are not associated with bribe giving; and, e) positive impacts are found with age, number of years of education, low level of education and Islam. Some results observed with multivariate analysis contradict those found with bivariate analysis. All in all, although community variables can explain differences in petty corruption, household characterizations are equally important. This is just an outline of corruption practices in Cameroon. Its foundation lies on a few variables whose measure is not perfect. For further research, it is necessary to enlarge the scope of the study and improve the measurement aspect. Nevertheless, the results can help make better decisions to reorient the fight against such bad practices, since corruption is recognized as a deterrent to development, especially when it becomes systemic.
JQ 3525. A55 C 686 2012
Corruption - Cameroon , House holds - Cameroon , Political Corruption- Cameroon