Latin American History Research Notes - CULTURE The belief...

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CULTUREThe belief that democracy is the best form of government may decrease if a large portion ofcitizens are victims of crime or if crime generates a collective fear. Under these conditions,citizens may become less tolerant of others and/or lose faith in their fellow citizens, thus erodingsocial capital. Additionally, victimization by crime and fear of crime have impacts in terms of lossof trust in political institutions, especially in the police and the judicial system. Evidence isaccumulating, which argues that the factor that shapes these attitudes is not only victimizationbut also the state of insecurity that people feel. Even in countries with high homicide rates, thelikelihood that a person is killed or is the victim of a serious crime is relatively low. Therefore, theimpact of victimization may be less than the fear of crime that affects a much larger portion ofthe population.Figure IV.23 illustrates the significant effects from the regression analysis. The bars thatcorrespond to younger people show a higher percentage of victimization; this is also the casefor the bars representing men and those with higher education. Men are twice as likely aswomen to report corruption victimization, and people with higher education are three times morelikely than those without any schooling. The reason may be that people with more educationhave more resources and, therefore, may receive more requests for bribes than the poor, or itcould be that people with more education are more willing to report incidents of corruption whenthey were the victims.Economic.Without a doubt, corruption is a serious problem for economic development and the functioningof Dominican democracy because it prevents or delays the process of modernization andinstitutionalization. But low social investment, inefficient bureaucracy, high unemployment andlimited social mobility represent optimal conditions for the existence and spread of corruption.AuthoritarianismWith respect to corruption, there has been a long debate in the Dominican Republic. Corruptionwas instrumental in the process of capital accumulation during the authoritarian regimes, and,since the democratic transition in 1978, social groups and politicians have demanded that theproblem be addressed, while others have focused on self- enrichment when they enter thegovernment. It is known that public corruption devalues the functioning of government becauseit violates the popular charge for leaders to ensure the common good and represent theinterests of all citizens. Despite this, Dominican governments have been reluctant to take up thebanner of controlling corruption, preferring to leave this resource available to politicians, eventhough they know the discontent that it causes in large segments of the population who areexcluded from the unlawful distributionTrujilloThe ensuing domestic political warfare left the Dominican Republic once again inpolitical and economic chaos. European and U.S. bankers expressed concern over the

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Term
Spring
Professor
Daniel Nieves

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