Economics of Transition and Institutional ChangeVolume 29, Issue 2 p. 343-356
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Obesity of politicians and corruption in post‐Soviet countries
Pavlo Blavatskyy
First published: 18 July 2020
https://doi.org/10.1111/ecot.12259
Citations: 1
Pavlo Blavatskyy is a member of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Chair, which is part of LabEx Entrepreneurship (University of Montpellier, France) and is funded by the French government (Labex Entreprendre, ANR‐10‐Labex‐11‐01).
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Abstract
We collected 299 frontal face images of 2017 cabinet ministers from 15 post‐Soviet states (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan). For each image, the minister's body‐mass index is estimated using a computer vision algorithm. The median estimated body‐mass index of cabinet ministers is highly correlated with conventional measures of corruption (Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index, World Bank worldwide governance indicator Control of Corruption, Index of Public Integrity). This result suggests that physical characteristics of politicians such as their body‐mass index can be used as proxy variables for political corruption when the latter are not available, for instance at a very local level.
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