Future political corruption researched

By 9 septiembre, 2019Law and Social Sciences

A mathematical study developed by Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV) and Universitat de València (UV) researchers shows that over 500,000 people have a high or medium risk of being corrupted.

A team of researchers of the UPV and UV has produced a study that predicts the evolution of political corruption in Spain for the next four years. And according to the results obtained, the study indicated that in 2023 there will be almost 377,000 people with a “moderate risk” of being corrupt, and 144,000 with a high risk. These figures account for 1.6% and 0.6% of the study’s population respectively.

The study focuses on the population that is active and able working-wise, and aged 16 to 70 (almost 24 million people). Of these, the researchers established four levels of risk of committing political corruption: zero risk, for people who are not in touch with public officials; low risk – less than 10% -, people who are susceptible of collaborating with public officials such as those who belong to political parties, unions or people in positions of management; and high risk – over 50% -, for people in high positions who manage large budgets and/or have impactful decision-making abilities.

Furthermore, the study also takes into account people’s employment situation when conducting the analysis, and separates the population into five categories: pre-employed – youth up to 26 years of age -, unemployed, employed by the private sector, employed by the public sector or administration, and civil servant. This way, the study’s population was divided into 20 sub-populations, depending on their level of risk of committing political corruption and their professional life as regards holding a public position.

“We studied the evolution of the sub-populations in the future for the 2015-2023 time period, observing the annual dynamic shifts. The external variables that determine the shifts of individuals among populations during the study’s timeframe are: the elections, the time holding that position, gender, moral disconnection, economy, religion and the effect of the revolving doors,” explains Lucas Jodar, head of the UPV’s Multidisciplinary Mathematics Institute, and one of the authors of the study.

The work also concludes that the ratio of women with public positions is a factor that would positively help to lessen the issue. In other words, the larger the number of women in public positions, less people will be at risk of political corruption.

Difference equations system

In their analysis, the UPV and UV researchers used a population model where the population was divided into the mentioned sub-populations. “The populations were calibrated at the initial moment just after the elections of May 2015, and the shifts in population were approximately quantified annually, taking into account the mentioned shift factors,” explains Jodar.

The model is a system of difference equations with the following variables: time, risk level and professional profile.

“The shift factors were calibrated with data from the National Statistics Institute (INE) hypothesising on the effect of moral disconnection, taking into account electoral results, gender, the professional profile of the officials, the time holding that position, etc.,” concludes Jodar.

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