Is the corruption in the new member states converging with the rest of EU: An empirical investigation
The paper takes the economic concept of convergence and applies it to corruption in the new member states and their relationship with the rest of the EU. Using the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index, the analysis points to modest convergence in the EU as a whole, with the new member states as a group converging with the old member states at the rate of 0.08 points per year during the 1999-2008 period. The paper also finds that the new member states have corruption levels higher than their per capita income alone would predict and face a significant corruption handicap. However, there are large differences between countries, with Slovenia and Estonia showing no such handicap and the overall picture significantly improving during the last decade.
In economics, there is a well-developed concept of convergence between individual countries, which deals with convergence of nominal variables such as prices and convergence of real variables, particularly the per capita income. Neoclassical conomic theory would generally imply gradual real convergence between countries. (Barro and Sala-i-Martin 1992) The economically most advanced postsocialist countries, which joined the European Union in 2004 and 2007, have achieved significant steps towards real convergence with the rest of the union, particularly over the last decade. However, there is an absence of retrospective or prospective research into the same issues concerning the corruption. While it is generally agreed that the average corruption levels are significantly higher in the new member states, (Rose-Ackerman and Kornai 2004) there is a lack of dynamic analysis. Are we observing gradual) convergence of the corruption levels in the new member states with the rest of the union? If yes, how long will take it for the corruption levels to converge? Is here correlation with socioeconomic developments? How does this play out at the level of individual countries?