The causes and effects of corruption in Puerto Rico

Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)


Latin American and Caribbean Studies

First Advisor's Name

Anthony P. Maingot

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Ivelaw L. Griffith

Third Advisor's Name

Astrid Arraris

Date of Defense



This research investigated the causes and effects of corruption in Puerto Rico. First, it examined incidences of corruption in Puerto Rico in an effort to create a linkage between the historical and contemporary causes of corruption in the island. It used both an agency and a structural approach to further explain the country's contemporary causes of corruption. Its basic finding was that the causes of corruption in Puerto Rico are the blurred boundaries between the private and public sectors, lack of elite competition, lack of elite accountability, weak mass participation, and the mismanagement of material resources.

This thesis also examined empirical evidence that demonstrates the effects of corruption. The analysis revealed that corruption in Puerto Rico during the last decade has decreased Puerto Rican socio-economic outputs and investment sources. The study concluded that while anti-corruption measures have improved in the island, they have not adequately focused on the social measures to effectively combat corruption. On that score, the study highlighted the role played by public officials in perpetuating corruption in the island.



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