Corruption in the Eye of the Beholder : Survey Evidence from Mainland China and Hong Kong

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

16 Scopus Citations
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  • Ting Gong
  • Shiru Wang
  • Jianming Ren

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)458-482
Journal / PublicationInternational Public Management Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2015


This article explores how and to what extent people differ in their level of tolerance for corruption and why some people show a stronger propensity to counter corruption actively, while others seem more willing to accept it. We draw on the original data collected from a survey on perceptions of corruption among university students in Hong Kong and Mainland China to answer these questions. The respondents’ perceptions of corruption are measured by how they identify corruption, understand its causes, and interpret the consequences it may bring to society. Our empirical findings show substantial differences in perceptions of corruption across and within the two regions and also reveal a strong association between the way people perceive corruption and their level of tolerance for corruption and propensity to act against it. We see that, other things being equal, different perceptions of corruption lead to different tolerance levels for corruption and influence people's willingness to take part in the fight against corruption. Our findings also suggest that it is important to address the deficit in people's understanding of corruption in order to achieve desired anti-corruption effects.