"When you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind; it may be the beginning of knowledge, but you have scarcely, in your thoughts, advanced to the stage of science, whatever the matter may be."
Lord Kelvin

Tesztelés, politikai korrupció és Covid-19 halálozás


2021. június 8.


Tóth I. J. 2021. Tesztelés, politikai korrupció és Covid-19 halálozás. [Testing, political corruption and Covid-19 mortality. ] CRCB Research Notes: 2021:2, Budapest: CRCB. https://bit.ly/3cqeHsn


The paper deals with the impact of political (grand) corruption and government measures against the pandemic on the Covid-19 mortality rate using data of EU27 and OECD countries. The share of the positive tests within all tests is considered an indicator of government measures’ impact. We use the data of the World Bank and Our World in Data. The political corruption is measured by the 2019 data of the WEF EOS (World Economic Forum Executive Opinion Survey). The latter measures corruption connected to imports and exports, public utilities, tax payments, awarding of public contracts and licenses, obtaining favorable judicial decisions. Corrupt institutions can affect pandemic management, and indirectly, they can impact the severity of the pandemic through two mechanisms. The first is where political corruption is more widespread and more robust, governments and state institutions are less able to make rational and effective decisions that serve the public interest. Accordingly, they can only respond slowly and poorly to challenges such as the Covid-19 pandemic. The second mechanism works by breaking the trust in a state infected with corruption. The lack of trust directly weakens the culture of compliance, which would be much needed at the pandemic. A high level of political corruption thus destroys (i) the state and (ii) trust in the state at the same time. Thus, in states that are more affected by political corruption, it is expected that both the state and the population will be less able to respond effectively to a shock such as the Covid-19 pandemic. Our results demonstrate no statistical relationship between the pre-pandemic mortality rate and the level of grand corruption when the impact of other factors (e.g., economic development, age composition, and health status of the population) is considered. In contrast, our results indicate a robust positive relationship between the level of political corruption, the rate of positive tests, and the Covid-19 mortality rate (number of fatalities per million people). In countries with high levels of political corruption and where the government did not take appropriate actions against the pandemic (e.g., did not test enough), the mortality rate was significantly higher. This correlation also exists when the impact of other factors (economic development, age composition, and health status of the population, Etc.) is considered in the estimation.


Research Notes 2021:2
Data (zip)

Presentation (in Hungarian, pdf)