Dynasties and Corruption: How Dynasties Threaten Accountability for Corruption

Author: ORCID icon orcid.org/0000-0002-3125-9256
Davis, Daniel, Foreign Affairs - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Gingerich, Daniel, AS-Dept of Politics, University of Virginia

How best to control corruption is one of the most important unanswered social science questions. This dissertation contributes to the literature on the control of corruption by looking at how dynasties limit both vertical and horizontal accountability for corruption. In the Philippines, do areas with a higher concentration of dynasties see fewer prosecutions for corruption? Will voters reject corrupt politicians even when they are from a large dynasty? Can either horizontal accountability (prosecutions) or vertical accountability (elections) control corruption in the face of dynastic power? This dissertation also examines if a lack of prosecutions and opportunities for corruption leads to more dynasties, or if the dynasties cause these conditions.

To shed new light on these issues, this dissertation compiles new data sets on historic land ownership, dynastic membership, prosecutions for corruption, and elections. For some of these problems, this is the first time large quantitative data has been used to examine the issues. For others, the unique availability of data on these topics in the Philippines means that old questions are answered with new rigor.

Using this data, this dissertations shows that areas of the Philippines which had more inequality in land ownership in the early 20th century have a higher concentration of dynasties today. In those areas with a higher concentration of dynasties, even as corruption worsens prosecutions for corruption remain rare. Voters in the Philippines will punish politicians indicted for corruption, but when those politicians come from large dynasties, they are likely to be elected anyway.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Philippines, Corruption, Dynasties, Accountability, Land Reform, Elections
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