Mexico: Government Is Corrupt but so are Citizens

Mexico News Daily, April 15, 2017

Although Mexicans regard their government as “highly corrupt” they themselves accept having to pay bribes and avoid paying taxes and public transit fares, according to a study by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Integrity Review of Mexico. Taking a Stronger Stance Against Corruption found that 33% of those polled had paid bribes in education, law enforcement, medical and health services, police, permits, taxes and public services sectors.

It also found that bribery is far more commonplace in Mexico than in other OECD member countries.

Ten per cent of OECD respondents had bribed police officers during the last year, but in Mexico the figure was 60%. The OECD average for bribes paid to law enforcement was 10%. In Mexico it was 55%.

The OECD also estimated that Mexico government revenues are between 20% and 38% lower as a result of tax evasion.

Evading transit fares is also a common practice.

“Among the people of all OECD countries, Mexican citizens were the most in favor of avoiding paying public transit fares,” a practice the study calls free-riding.

The study remarked that “there exists a strong perception that the citizens of Mexico are apathetic with regard to corruption.”

Still, the people of Mexico have “emphatically” rejected a political and government system regarded as “extremely corrupt” that limits their possibilities for a better life.

Scandals involving prominent politicians have given rise to a demand for a major shift, continued the report, which said that in a 2015 poll, 70% of Mexican citizens stated they believed corruption to be widespread within government.

If the reforms enacted by the Mexican government are to be successfully implemented, “reverting a culture that accepts corruption and lack of integrity” is needed.

“As long as the prevailing social rules are those that tolerate corruption, government reforms will not be successful.”

The study explained that “the forward momentum behind the launch of the National Anti-Corruption System seeks to strengthen the resilience of institutions and public officials against corruption.”

“Nevertheless, when corruption happens between citizens and businesses, and when a society shows a high tolerance level toward corruption, the impact of such well-designed laws and public policies could be limited,” concluded the document.

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