Skip to content

Methodological errors in corruption research: Recommendations for future research

In a Journal of International Business Studies article, DCID Director Edmund Malesky co-authors a series of actionable points on how to advance empirical research on corruption.

Edmund Malesky, director of the Duke Center for International Development, makes recommendations for how empirical research on corruption can advance in the Journal of International Business Studies article “Methodological errors in corruption research: Recommendations for future research.”

Edmund Malesky
Edmund Malesky, PhD

Malesky and co-authors Andrew Delios, NUS Business School, National University of Singapore; Shu Yu, Suzhou Industrial Park Monash Research Institute of Science and Technology; and Griffin Riddler, Political Science Department, Duke University; offer recommendations to accelerate improvements in empirical research on corruption and for other phenomena that are characterized by legal, moral and social desirability concerns.

“The secretive, illegal, multidimensional, and ubiquitous nature of corruption leads to formidable difficulties in research design and measurement,” the authors write in the article’s abstract. “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.”

The authors defined, measured and tracked four common measurement errors and two common research design errors for papers on corruption published in international business/management and political economy journals from 2000 to 2001.

“Our data marks a substantial opportunity to tighten the fit between theory and methods,” the authors write.

The Journal of International Business Studies, published by the Academy of International Business, is the top-ranked journal in the field of international business.

Malesky, a professor of political economy at Duke, is a specialist on Southeast Asia, particularly Vietnam. His research agenda is 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. He joined the Duke Center for International Development as the director in 2020.