Why is it that some societies are very corrupt whereas others are more or less uncorrupt? According to a research paper presented today by Jonathan Hopkin, the well-known LSE academic, it is all down to religion. In Protestant countries people are, on the whole, incorruptible whereas people in Catholic countries can’t get anything done without giving or accepting bribes. As Hopkin told a captivated capacity crowd in the LSE auditorium: It’s all the pope’s fault! Look, I ran an SPS regression and the pope is the most significant variable.
Late on Wednesday evening, the Vatican was not available for comments but in an official statement the director of the London School of Ergonomics said he feared ex-communication. Research is not only about facts, the director pointed out, values enter into it as well. Academics need to take more responsibility for their conclusions.