Alaska tops state rankings for public corruption in research published in the latest issue of a peer-reviewed journal.
Least Corrupt States by Population
- New Hampshire
Most Corrupt States by Population
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
Least Corrupt States by Number of Public Employees
Most Corrupt States by Number of Public Employees
Source: The Impact of Public Officials’ Corruption on the Size and Allocation of U.S. State Spending, Public Administration Review
The rankings were just one item the researchers fed into their statistical analyses testing for connections between corruption and state spending.
Four theories were tested:
- The more corruption there is, the bigger the budget;
- Corruption skews spending toward capital spending, construction and highways;
- Corruption skews spending toward salaries, wages and debt financing; and
- Corruption skews state spending away from social sectors, such as education, welfare and health.
Their analyses backed all four theories. The researchers also presented a statistical model that suggests if Alaska had merely “average” corruption, the state could save more than $900 million a year.
The researchers warn that policymakers should be wary of public money used “for private gains of the few,” though spending on capital, construction, highways and debt is not problematic in itself.
Cheol Liu of the University of Hong Kong and John L. Mikesell of Indiana University published their paper, The Impact of Public Officials’ Corruption on the Size and Allocation of U.S. State Spending, in Public Administration Review.