Methodological errors in corruption research: Recommendations for future research

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Repository Usage Stats


Citation Stats


The secretive, illegal, multidimensional, and ubiquitous nature of corruption leads to formidable difficulties in research design and measurement. When research fails to account for these challenges, it can lead to an empirical misalignment with concepts and theories of corruption, with inferential errors commensurately emerging. We define, measure, and track four common measurement errors and two common research design errors for papers on corruption published in international business/management and political economy journals in the 2000–2021 period. Our data marks a substantial opportunity to tighten the fit between theory and methods. We offer recommendations to accelerate improvements in empirical research on corruption, and indeed for other phenomena that are characterized by legal, moral, and social desirability concerns. These empirical recommendations contribute to more robust theory building.





Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Delios, A, EJ Malesky, S Yu and G Riddler (2024). Methodological errors in corruption research: Recommendations for future research. Journal of International Business Studies, 55(2). pp. 235–251. 10.1057/s41267-023-00637-8 Retrieved from

This is constructed from limited available data and may be imprecise. To cite this article, please review & use the official citation provided by the journal.



Edmund Malesky

Professor of Political Science

Malesky is a specialist on Southeast Asia, particularly Vietnam. Currently, Malesky's research agenda is very much at the intersection of Comparative and International Political Economy, falling into three major categories: 1) Authoritarian political institutions and their consequences; 2) The political influence of foreign direct investment and multinational corporations; and 3) Political institutions, private business development, and formalization.

Unless otherwise indicated, scholarly articles published by Duke faculty members are made available here with a CC-BY-NC (Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial) license, as enabled by the Duke Open Access Policy. If you wish to use the materials in ways not already permitted under CC-BY-NC, please consult the copyright owner. Other materials are made available here through the author’s grant of a non-exclusive license to make their work openly accessible.