Thursday, March 22, 2012

More missing data

A few years ago, I looked for data on corruption in the states.  I thought there would be something along the lines of Transparency International's data for different countries, which are based on surveys of people who have done business in those places.  To my surprise, I couldn't find anything.  The other day, I saw a story about the State Integrity Investigation, which ranked states on having and enforcing anti-corruption measures.   That reminded me that I had once seen two questions on public opinion from the 1930s that seemed relevant.  One asked "does politics play a part in the handling of relief in your locality"; the other, "should government positions . . . be given to those who help put their political party into office or those who receive the highest marks in civil service examinations?"  The rankings on the these two measures are almost completely uncorrelated, but here are the top and bottom on each ("top" as states in which people think that politics plays a part and more people think that positions should go to those who help their party).  The rankings on whether people thought that politics played a part are a reasonably good match with my (vague) impressions about the comparative corruption of the states.  The main factor for opinions about whether jobs should go to those who help their party was region:  that opinion was more popular in the South and border states. 

Politics                      Help Party

Arkansas                      Mississippi
Louisiana                     Delaware
New Jersey                    Alabama
W. Virginia                   Kentucky
Rhode Island                  Virginia


N. Dakota                      New Hampshire
Colorado                       Oregon
Utah                           Vermont
Kentucky                       Rhode Island
Vermont                        Arizona

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