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Assessing Corruption in Agricultural Cooperatives: Differences in the Perceived Level of Corruption Using Microdata

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The agricultural branch of the Portuguese cooperative sector assumes an important role in rural development and in the inter-cooperation with local, regional, national, and international structures. Given the principles and values that guide cooperatives, they have a greater responsibility in respecting the pillars of good governance such as transparency, integrity, and accountability. However, cooperatives may not be exempt from corruption. The objective of this paper is to assess farmers’ perception of corruption in the agricultural cooperative sector and to analyse if that level depends on their personal characteristics, on farm-specific characteristics, and the relations with the cooperative. With data collected through a survey, a logistic model was estimated to analyse the impact of personal characteristics of farmers and of their farms in the odd of score very high the level of corruption in the agriculture cooperative sector. Results suggest that farmers perceive high levels of corruption and that gender, age, turnover, and seniority as members of the cooperative are relevant predictors of the said level of corruption. These results raise awareness for the greater need of social accountability, more attention for management and supervisory bodies for the ethics of governance, as well as the need to implement internal control systems.