The Effect of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Diffusion on Corruption and Transparency (A Global Study)
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Is the diffusion of information and communication technologies (ICTs) the “magic bullet” for effectively reducing corruption? Can government transparency be increased by ICT diffusion? Does ICT diffusion increase governmental transparency, thereby reducing corruption? A few previous studies have measured the relationship between ICTs, transparency, and corruption. Generally, such studies focus on the role of electronic governance (e-governance) in facilitating state-citizen interactions and how e-governance acts as a corruption deterrent. This study digresses from past literature by directly exploring the effects of the ICT environment, using the Networked Readiness Index (NRI), and diffusion of two specific ICTs (e.g. the number of Internet users per 100 people and mobile cellular phone users per 100 people) on corruption and transparency through structural equation modeling. This study also examines how macroeconomic and national sociocultural variables mediate and moderate the relationships of ICTs on transparency and corruption. The results show that for each increase unit in NRI, transparency increased by 9.423% and corruption decreased by 14.017%. Furthermore, increasing access to the Internet by 27 people per 100 persons increased transparency by 17.581% and reduced corruption by 15.239%. Additionally, each unit increase in per capita GDP results in an increase in transparency by 7.068% and a decrease in corruption by 10.507%. Conversely, increases in FDI and mobile cellular diffusion demonstrated marginal results on increasing transparency and reducing corruption. Implications of these findings as well as avenues for further research are discussed.