Institutional checks and corruption: The effect of formal agenda access on governance

William B. Heller, Andreas P. Kyriacou, Oriol Roca-sagalÉs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


© 2016 European Consortium for Political Research Legislative checks give whoever wields them influence over policy making. It is argued in this article that this influence implies the ability not only to affect legislative content, but also to direct public resources toward private ends. Rational politicians should use access to checks to make themselves better off – for example, by biasing policy toward private interests or creating opportunities to draw directly from the public till. Disincentives exist only to the extent that those able to observe or block corruption do not themselves benefit from it. Political opponents thus can use checks to stymie each other, but legislative checks controlled by political allies create conditions for collusion and corruption. Testing this claim against data from a sample of 84 countries, the results presented in this article show strong support for the hypothesised relationship between institutional checks and corruption.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)681-701
JournalEuropean Journal of Political Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016


  • checks
  • corruption
  • governance
  • panel data
  • veto players


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