What do the victory of Hamas in the Palestinian Authority, the defeat of Silvio Berlusconi, Italian prime minister, and the indictment of Tom DeLay, former U.S. House majority leader, all have in common?
Corruption. Having worked on electoral campaigns around the world, we are struck by the number of countries in which corruption has become a top-tier issue that mobilizes voters, decides elections and shapes the agenda of nations. Public anger over corruption is particularly intense in countries that are less developed or undergoing transitions from communist or autocratic rule to more open systems. Across 20 transitional and developing countries in Latin America, Central Europe, Asia and Africa, where our firm has conducted surveys over the past five years, corruption is the third-strongest public concern, cited by 21 percent on average as one of their top two national problems. Higher shares are focused on unemployment (48 percent) and poor living conditions (34 percent).