Year of Graduation
A Comparative Analysis of Corruption in Transition Countries: A Game Theory Approach
International Relations in Eurasia
By comparing the transitional development in two post-Communist countries, the thesis demonstrates why similar transition countries experience different levels of corruption. The thesis develops an evolutionary game-theory approach in analysing the persistence of corruption and by both extending its reach to the post-Communist world using qualitative approach of comparative historical institutionalism. This thesis develops by hypothesising a causal link between the exercise of public authority, post-Communist corruption, and players’ cooperation. The thesis defines the dependent variable, corruption, and introduces the explanatory variables of cooperation which consists of three phases – players’ reputation, network reciprocity and repetitive social interactions. It finds that different corruption levels are the result of rational players’ choices either to participate in a collective action and cooperate, or by defecting remain corrupt. After presenting alternative theories of what may cause the differences in corruption level, the thesis embarks on an analysis of qualitative comparative analysis of the transitional development two countries. The thesis examines Estonia and Lithuania, which have gone through similar transition processes, however, has different levels of corruption. The conclusion discusses the relevance of the findings for policy and research agendas within and beyond the post-Communist world.