Majority of Portuguese consider corruption increased over last year

A new study released by the University of Lisbon has shown that the majority of people quizzed believe corruption has increased over the past year – and they blame politicians and the business community.

Described as a ‘study of opinion’, conducted by the Institute of Social Sciences, 53% of respondents “agreed with the idea that corruption has increased”.

This was an opinion “most prevalent in women, those whose politics is on the left and with intermediate levels of skills and salaries”.

The majority of those taking part consider that the pandemic has increased opportunities for corruption, explains SIC – “an idea that has more expression among men, people on the right (politically) and with higher salaries and skills levels”.

“Questioned on the link between professions and the prevalence of corruption, the median response was that 69 in every 100 politicians is corrupt, and 51 in every 100 figures in business”.

When it comes to public sector workers, respondents pointed to 40% being open to corruption, which is roughly the same percentage given to citizens in general (39%).

When asked for a word most associated with corruption, most people said “politicians”. The second and third most common words were “money” and “theft”.

Only 7% of respondents refer allude directly to a State employee having indicated that presents or favours could ‘ease the way’ to solving a problem. This number increased to 18% when people were asked if they knew anyone who had resorted to presents, favours or a bribe, to get what they wanted/ needed.

SIC continued: “In spite of the majority saying corruption has increased in the last year, 73% declared the phenomenon did not affect their lives any more or less than it had in the past, while 22% said their lives had been more affected”.

Even so, only 1% said they were willing to denounce a case of corruption if it came to their attention. 

Among reasons for this “the idea that it wouldn’t make any difference dominated”´, says SIC.  33% just felt there was no point.17% said the time and cost of complaining “wouldn’t be compensated”, 15% feared ‘reprisals’ and 10% said they simply didn’t know who to complain to anyway.

When asked what kind of corruption they most associated with politicians and the business class, respondents cited ‘abuse of power’ and ‘embezzlement’.

The Institute of Social Sciences conducted 1,020 interviews for the study which took place between December 2020 and April 2021.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com