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Between Sun and Snow: Comparative Analysis of Corruption in Spain and Sweden

Eliška Drapalova
Hertie School
Eliška Drapalova
Hertie School

Abstract

While many Southern-European countries are known political corruption, Sweden has maintained an image of a corruption-free country. This paper analyses comparatively cases of subnational variation in levels of corruption in two apparently very different countries: uncorrupt Sweden and corrupt Spain, aiming to explain what drives the increasing levels of corruption in both cases. Although the two countries depart from very different levels of corruption and quality of the state bureaucracy, this paper shows that the political corruption is driven by very similar mechanisms. The central argument of my paper is that the thin line between business corruption and the positive cooperation with the government is highly conditioned by composition of business interests associations and their capacity to build coalitions with other societal actors. This article combines a within-country and cross-country study of local government with a qualitative analysis of primary sources and interviews and quantitative analysis of socio-economic data.