Paper presentation by Eric Uslaner

Friday the 9th of October at 15:30, Eric Uslaner is visiting the Department to present the paper “The Historical Roots of Corruption: State Building, Economic Inequality, and Mass Education”, co-authored with Bo Rothstein. 

Uslaner is a Professor at the University of Maryland and his work focuses on social trust and corruption. It has been published in American Political Science Review, Journal of Politics and World Politics and in three single-authored books on Cambridge University Press. 


We show a link between levels of mass education in 1870 and corruption levels in 2010 for 78 countries that remains strong when controlling for change in the level of education, GDP/ capita, and democratic governance. A theoretical model for the existence of a causal mechanism between universal education and control of corruption is presented. Early introduction of universal education is linked to levels of economic equality in the late 19th and early 20st centuries and to efforts to increase state capacity. First, societies with more equal education gave citizens more opportunities and power for opposing corruption. Secondly, the need for increased state capacity was a strong motivation for the introduction of universal education in many countries. In addition to the statistical analyses, historical evidence show that strong states provided more education to their publics and that such states were more common where economic disparities were initially smaller.