Ella Hugo

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PhD Student

B.COM (Economics & Finance), Mphil (Economics)

Thesis topic

The Culture of Corruption: A multi-disciplinary approach to assessing the impact of corruption.

Thesis project

Corruption is a complex and contested phenomenon that raises difficult and ethical questions about the culture and attitudes of society (Rose Ackerman, 2018). The term ‘corruption’ is often used to condemn a behaviour that violates the speakers’ values, but certain forms of corruption, such as bribing a foreign official, have been considered legal and social norms in many countries. Over the last twenty years, economist have attempted to define and empirically assess the true impact of corruption. The purpose of this thesis is to explore the phenomena of corruption through the use of economic and multidisciplinary methods. Using the World Values Survey, study one will evaluate the social norms of a region and explore the impacts corruption has on culture and attitudes. The second study aims to assess the level of corruption in a region by using unpaid infringement notices from diplomats and tourists in Australia. By including tourist, rather than just focusing on diplomats, we can assess whether corruption is experienced culturally outside the bureaucracy. Study three will explore the social networks around those who actively and passively participate in corruption for the purpose of contract procurement. This network analysis will show the degrees of separation between government and private firm employees. The purpose the of final study is to understand how and where corruption affects resources in urban infrastructure. Urban planning requires intricate knowledge of the local environment and as socioeconomic classes are usually grouped together in urban areas; this provides the opportunity to assess levels of corruption in urban planning. Local members of parliament are traditionally the ones who make the decisions on public spending, therefore creating a conflict of interest and opportunities for corruption.

Supervisor details

Professor Benno Torgler – Principal Supervisor – School of Economics and Finance – QUT Faculty of Business and Law

Professor Paul Frijters – Associate Supervisor – Economics and Wellbeing MBS College in Saudi Arabia

Dr Stephen Whyte – Associate Supervisor – School of Economics and Finance – QUT Faculty of Business and Law