Says Who? An Experiment on Allegations of Corruption and Credibility of Sources

Sandra Botero, Rodrigo Castro Cornejo, Laura Gamboa, Nara Pavao, David W. Nickerson

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch Articlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


To hold politicians accountable for corrupt practices, voters must rely on reports from third parties and view these accusation sources as credible. We conducted a survey experiment varying sources for corruption accusations and measuring citizens’ evaluations of political candidates in Colombia. Consistent with prior surveys, we find that respondents trust newspapers more than the judiciary or nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). Corruption accusations coming from the leading national newspaper drive down levels of support and trust for corrupt politicians relative to identical accusations made against identical candidates by NGOs and the judiciary. Our results also indicate that people with lower levels of education were more responsive than more educated individuals to corruption accusations coming from newspapers when compared to those coming from the judiciary or an NGO. Perceptions of candidate competence did not move with perceived trustworthiness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)493-504
Number of pages12
JournalPolitical Research Quarterly
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 13 2015
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


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