Accounting for the Unaccountable: the Internal Auditor’s Role in Curbing National Corruption
Corruption has been a scourge on organized society since the dawn of civilization. Social scientists, politicians, business leaders, think tanks, and concerned citizens have all taken turns attempting to solve the riddle of corruption. It perpetuates itself in multiple facets of daily life including politics, governmental affairs, business, economic development, and society and culture at large. It is also not limited by proximity constraints as corruption occurs across multiple geographic dimensions including local, regional, and national levels. Despite societal efforts to curb corruption, it continues to rear its ugly head with severe consequences. These consequences pose financial and societal hardships that underpin corruption risk. This has resulted in an increased demand for policy-based remediation efforts to curb corruption. Extant literature focuses primarily on institutional, socioeconomic, cultural, and development factors as determinants of corruption. However, not all countries that experience corruption do so consistently according to these determinants. To address this gap, I examine the effect of support for internal auditors across a sample of 180 countries. I hypothesize that countries with greater support for internal auditors are more likely to have greater control of corruption. My research utilizes a mixed methods approach encompassing a quantitative analysis with pooled time series cross sectional data and a qualitative case study. The qualitative case study approach employs survey data as well as professional and academic sources to compare the cases of the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia to ascertain determinants of corruption outcomes. Holding economic diversification conditions constant, I argue that support for internal auditors in the United Arab Emirates distinguishes its corruption outcome from that of its neighbor, Saudi Arabia. Specifically, I seek to address the following research question: Why is corruption pervasive in some countries but not others? My research contributes to the existing literature by introducing another determinant of corruption and assessing whether that driver conveys the variation in policy across the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.