The level of corruption and the form it takes is also varying rather systematically with the political setting. Corruption levels and forms vary with the regime type within which it occurs. One widely held general assumption is that the level of corruption corresponds negatively with democratisation, i.e. that the level of corruption is
decreasing with increasing levels of democracy.
In countries with rather weak authoritarian regimes, however, and in countries in transition, the autocratic order has broken down, but the new political and administrative state institutions have not yet gained full political legitimacy and operational capacity. Democratisation and liberalisation, which implies a broader
distribution of powers as well as opportunities, may have the effect of "decentralizing" corruption to local political bosses, to new "political entrepreneurs" and to upcoming brokers and businessmen. Democratisation also provide new incentives for corruption, in particular in the mounting of electoral campaigns, in the
struggle for senior political and civil service offices, in the lucrative possibilities of formerly state-owned property and businesses up for privatisation, and in securing
oneself in a situation of both political and economic uncertainty. The sudden spread of civil, political and economic freedoms has in many places opened up to an era of licence without responsibility, where freedom from oppression has been confused with freedom from any authority and any responsibility.
Political democratisation nevertheless implies several sets of institutions,procedures, and values that may significantly reduce the level of corruption, when consolidated. The most important anti-corruption measures are institutional checks and balances, the rule of law, free access to information and the right to criticise, and openness in the decision-making processes. Thus, with democratic consolidation, countries in transition may increase the ophistication of these institutions and procedures, and overcome the disease of rampant corruption. The battle against corrupt practices is thus a part of the broader democratic struggle for a clean and accountable government as well as for responsible citizens.