We are happy to announce, that the PSR Best Paper Award for 2021 goes to Prof. Jacob S. Lewis (Corruption Perceptions and Contentious Politics in Africa: How Different Types of Corruption Have Shaped Africa’s Third Wave of Protest).
This excellent article asks the following question: Does corruption increase general and anti-government protests? As the author claims scholarship has produced seemingly incompatible results, with some research demonstrating a strong connection between corruption and the onset of contentious politics and other research finding that heightened perceptions of corruption decrease activism.
The article addresses this puzzle by examining how different types of corruption condition diverging contentious outcomes. Focusing on two highly salient forms of corruption in the African context—elite corruption and police corruption—this article argues that the different consequences, salience, and costs associated with these two forms help to condition whether citizens rise up or stay home.
This argument is tested via two methods. First, it draws from a survey experiment conducted in five Nigerian states in 2017. The survey experiment tests whether exposure to different types of corruption affects willingness to join in protests. Second, it draws from statistical analysis of geo-located perceptions of corruption and protest across Africa, incorporating checks for both collinearity and endogeneity into the model. The statistical analysis examines whether heightened perceptions of corruption correlate with increased counts of general and anti-government protests. The results from both methods demonstrate that elite corruption is positively correlated with protest, whereas police corruption is not.