Corruption is a crime which slows economic growth, undermines development, and causes inequality. With a cost to the global economy estimated at around US$2.6 trillion (£1.8 trillion) a year, it is often linked to politics and profiteering by large corporations. The Panama Papers, for example, exposed the vast and powerful reach of the financial secrecy industry.
But a large volume of the corruption in developing countries operates through “grease money” – informal cash payments to local government officials. This involves people regularly handing over payments for access to everyday public goods and services such as electricity, driving licenses and medical care.
Aside from the financial implications, the often hidden cost of this kind of corruption is its damaging psychological impact. Our research aims to shine a light on how everyday corruption harms mental health in developing countries.
The damage can come in several forms. For example, the size and frequency of bribes imposes financial costs and creates anxiety, …