In this article we evaluate the influence of democracy on perceived levels of corruption. We argue that the control of corruption depends on the compensation and accountability of public officials, and on an open and competitive economy. We analyze the influence of democracy, controlling for the influence of other political and economic factors including federalism, economic development, and economic competition. The findings for the importance of economic factors are consistent. The finding in earlier research that federalism increases corruption is not robust. The findings for democracy are influenced importantly by the way that democracy is measured, but we do find that citizens' repetitive participation in competitive elections increases the control of corruption. In doing so, we move beyond the composite indices of democracy in constructing an alternative compound measure of democracy, which we argue is likely to be useful in other research contexts.