Brad Plumer summarizes recent research that finds that “capitals that are more isolated from the rest of the state or country tend to be more corrupt”:
[W]hy would this be? There are a couple of theories here. The authors found that state capitals located in remote areas tend to receive less newspaper and media coverage. What’s more, voter knowledge about the goings-on in these isolated statehouses tends to be lower. And, as a result, voter turnout for state elections tends to be depressed.
Joshua Keating chimes in:
The authors also note that this is all very ironic, given that capitals were often initially moved away from major commercial centers in order to discourage corruption. … I wonder if part of the issue may be the ability to attract qualified — and not corrupt — civil servants. No offense to Albany or Abuja, but I’m guessing the governments based in Boston, or Denver, not to mention Paris and Tokyo, might have an easier time [attracting] the best and the brightest.