Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Jeffrey Witsoe




Asia, culture, corruption, India, China, politics


Currently, India and China are both competing to be the hegemonic power in Asia as well as a superpower internationally. Both are growing at double-digit rates, while other nations are dealing with the current recession. However, while China is reducing corruption which ultimately translates into money lost by the government, corruption in India is increasing at a rapid pace. According to Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index 2010, India ranked 87 out of 180 nations. Though, India ranked better than half the other nations, India fell from 72nd (2007) to 84th in two years. In my thesis, I explore the relationship between voters and politicians in order to understand why corruption dominates the political system and why voters tolerate corruption by electing known corrupt leaders to office. I conducted a village study in Gujarat, interviewed local politicians and party leaders, and organized focus groups with women and lower castes. My findings indicate that corruption cannot easily be explained without understanding the systems that perpetuate it - the story of corruption in India encompasses centuries of caste dominance, the role of campaign finance and systems of political patronage.