A Test of Tolerance: Report says student generation soft of corruption

Armenian students have developed a tolerance toward corruption, according to a new study released last week in Yerevan. In “Corruption and the Social Dynamics of Transition Period; Positions and Tendencies of the Yerevan Studentship on Corruption”, author and advisor with “Campaign against Corruption Friendly Social and Legal Settings in Armenia” Samvel Manukyan says social tendencies have contributed to students’ coming to accept corruption with less resistance than a generation before them.

The monograph is the third and final installation of studies sponsored by the European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights programme of the European Commission. The work is in cooperation with the Center for Counter-Terrorism Assistance (see To End Corruption).

Manukyan says the aim of the book is to “identify the factors facilitating corruption among the studentship of Yerevan” that would help better understand the mentally of future generations concerning this issue.The author mentioned the importance for defining the factors that influence (facilitate or hinder) the dynamics of positions towards corruption in the intellectual elites.

According to Transparency International (www.transparency.org), an influential international anti-corruption initiative, in 2004 Armenia was 82nd among 146 states across the world in the leve of corruption, with a 3.1 rating on a scale of 10, sharing its place with Madagascar and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The survey shows that tolerance toward corruption is higher among those who own or manage businesses or are active in the business world; or who have close affiliation with such people.

Particularly, the author concludes, the tolerance towards corruption is higher among the students with Yerevan descent while the students from the regions are more actively positioned against this phenomenon. Furthermore, the tolerance among young women is lower than among young men, which is explained by the latter’s traditionally more active engagement in economic relations.

The study has shown that corruption is understood as necessary and a universal means for social success. The lower the tolerance, the lower is the individual’s inclusion into social-economic relations. In other words, the book concludes, intolerance towards corruption increases the risk of marginalization of an individual and the children from relatively more well-off families are more tolerant towards corruption.

The position of the students exposed to the survey regarding the fight against corruption has been distributed in three directions: those who are not particularly interested in the subject. These are the students that have the highest degree of tolerance towards corruption. The second group is represented by those who have distrust towards the struggle against corruption and those who substantiate their trust in two major ways – legislative, economic and institutional reforms and, second, punishment. The third is the group manifesting the highest level of intolerance towards corruption.

Accomplished by several appendices including tables, questionnaires used during the survey and other methodological instruments the book hopes to serve as a manual to those who are interested in the subject matter of the survey as well as the social and economic tendencies in Armenia.

The book finalizes the three–volume series that includes also “An Anthology of International Anti-Corruption Experience, Selected Studies”, “Analysis of Corruption Friendly Norms in the Legislation of the RA”.