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February 26, 2019 | English and Arabic | Dima Mahdi and Daniel Garrote Sanchez
How do People in Lebanon Perceive Corruption?

Lebanon has a consistently poor corruption track record, a fact not lost on the Lebanese public, among whom perceptions of corruption are high. This brief examines these perceptions using a countrywide opinion survey of 1,200 Lebanese respondents conducted in the fall of 2018. It aims to better flesh out perceptions of corruption and their demographic, socioeconomic, political, and regional characteristics, factors which are integral to forming an understanding of how the Lebanese public regards corrupt practices. Additionally, the brief examines the prevalence, implications, and drivers of corruption and identifies actors who are perceived to be participating in corrupt practices and their reasons for doing so.
Citizens from poor regions, those in high income brackets, and Shia and Druze perceive higher levels of corruption. Individuals with high levels of education, political connections, and strong sectarian identities have lower perceptions of corruption. Citizens also perceive widespread corruption across local, regional, and national institutions. More than half of Lebanese believe that ethical values, greed, financial needs, and familial pressure act as impetuses for participating in corruption. A similar portion of Lebanese believe that citizens’ motivations for engaging in corruption include regular interactions with an inefficient public bureaucracy, the desire for special treatment from public officials, and, more generally, achieving desired outcomes.
In light of Lebanon's weak advancements in addressing corruption at the legislative and administrative levels, this brief recommends resorting to alternative methods targeting perceptions of corruption specifically through a bottom-up approach using information campaigns that have the potential to influence citizens’ behavior and decisions.

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