© 2018

Gender and Corruption

Historical Roots and New Avenues for Research

  • Helena Stensöta
  • Lena Wängnerud
  • Offers a nuanced and complex understanding of how and when gender matters for corruption and good governance

  • Theoretically challenging while rooted in rich empirical data

  • Includes in-depth case studies, experiments and Large-N studies covering several regions of the world


Part of the Political Corruption and Governance book series (PCG)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xviii
  2. Introduction

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Helena Stensöta, Lena Wängnerud
      Pages 3-20
  3. Citizens and the Electoral Arena

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 57-57
    2. Leslie A. Schwindt-Bayer, Justin Esarey, Erika Schumacher
      Pages 59-82
    3. Elin Bjarnegård, Mi Yung Yoon, Pär Zetterberg
      Pages 105-124
  4. Engendering the Bureaucracy

  5. Gender, Change, and Corruption

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 169-169
    2. Amy C. Alexander, Andreas Bågenholm
      Pages 171-189
    3. Mattias Agerberg, Maria Gustavson, Aksel Sundström, Lena Wängnerud
      Pages 213-233
  6. New Avenues for Research

About this book


The link between gender and corruption has been studied since the late 1990s. Debates have been heated and scholars accused of bringing forward stereotypical beliefs about women as the “fair” sex. Policy proposals for bringing more women to office have been criticized for promoting unrealistic quick-fix solutions to deeply rooted problems. This edited volume advances the knowledge surrounding the link between gender and corruption by including studies where the historical roots of corruption are linked to gender and by contextualizing the exploration of relationships, for example by distinguishing between democracies versus authoritarian states and between the electoral arena versus the administrative branch of government—the bureaucracy. Taken together, the chapters display nuances and fine-grained understandings. The book highlights that gender equality processes, rather than the exclusionary categories of “women” and “men”, should be at the forefront of analysis, and that developments strengthening the position of women vis-à-vis men affect the quality of government.     


gender and corruption women and corruption historical roots of corruption corruption research corruption and governance women in politics gender and politics quality of government gender quotas and corruption women in elections gender and bureaucracy women and anti-corruption measures political corruption in USA political corruption in Brazil political corruption in Mexico political corruption in Russia

Editors and affiliations

  • Helena Stensöta
    • 1
  • Lena Wängnerud
    • 2
  1. 1.University of GothenburgGothenburgSweden
  2. 2.University of GothenburgGothenburgSweden

About the editors

Helena Stensöta is Associate Professor at the Quality of Government Institute, Department of Political Science, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Lena Wängnerud is Professor at the Quality of Government Institute, Department of Political Science, University of Gothenburg, Sweden. 

Bibliographic information


“Having more women in government is consistently associated with less corruption in government. Why? Learn more in this far-reaching causal analysis. The relationship is far stronger in democracies than autocracies, stronger in elected office than in the bureaucracy. It doesn’t come from voters punishing corrupt women more than corrupt men. Gender quotas drawn from existing corrupt networks can just reproduce corruption. A Scandinavian gender-equal culture built on low fertility helps create cultural trust and low corruption. Sometimes women leaders reduce corruption to increase goods for families and children. Sometimes women who want to be corrupt are excluded from tightly-knit corrupt male networks. Much more here pushes us intellectually forward. But perhaps, one author suggests, we don’t need to know the exact mechanism. In democracies, just put more women in office and watch corruption decline.” (Professor Jane Mansbridge, Harvard University, USA)