Working Paper

Does Personal Experience of Bribery Explain Protest Participation in Africa?

“This paper examines the effect of direct experience with bribery on collective action using survey data on reactions of citizens to a hypothetical situation of corruption as the first dependent variable and participation in protests as the second. The results show that although a relatively small number of respondents prefer protests as a means to address allegations of corruption, the relative probability of preferring this type of action rises with an increase in the frequency of paying bribes. However, participation in protests and demonstrations first rises and then falls as the frequency of bribery increases. These findings bring into sharp focus conditions under which direct personal experience with corruption is likely to encourage apathy and when it is likely to trigger political engagement – a missing detail in the nascent literature on the effect of petty corruption on collective action.”

1 July 2016