This article identifies corruption as a feature of modern democracy. The authors argue that corruption is an important indicator of the performance of a political system, and that high levels of political corruption correspond to reduced citizens’ support for democratic political institutions in mature and newly established democracies. The authors hypothesize and empirically show that the negative effect of corruption relates to voters’ political allegiances. Additionally, the authors argue that citizens in more corrupt countries would report low levels of satisfaction with the performance of their political systems and trust in civil servants when compared to those in ‘cleaner’ democracies. They also argue that corruption has a negative influence on indicators of system legitimacy, and that even if culture serves to diminish the effects of corruption on political support it does not erase corruption’s negative effects.
American Journal of Political Studies