Keywords: Government alternation; Electoral competition; Corruption; Interactions; Models of democracy
This study deals with the effects of government alternation on the control of corruption depending on the model of democracy adopted by different countries. Government alternation here is defined as the distance between the positions on the left-right continuum assumed by two succeeding governments with a different partisan composition. In the main research hypothesis I advance that government alternation, contrary to the common wisdom, has a positive impact on the control of corruption only in those political systems that Lijphart calls consensual democracies. I think that in this kind of political systems high levels of alternation provide incentives to oppositions to expose corrupt practices of government parties. This because alternation strongly reduces the probability of future alliances between the oppositions and the incumbent. I test the research hypothesis with a cross-sectional comparison of thirty-two democracies on a period that goes from the first democratic election taken since 1945 till 2004. Results obtained from the empirical analysis confirm the hypothesis advanced; government alternation plays an important role on the control of corruption only in consensual democracies.