Public perceptions of corruption are significant for their political consequences. But they are conceptually and empirically distinct from corruption. First, because perceptions of corruption run far ahead of experience. Second, because different factors influence the one more than the other – indeed poverty and low education increase perceptions of corruption while decreasing participation in it. Third, because the political consequences of corruption and corruption-perceptions differ not only in degree but in their targets – perceptions and experiences of corruption erode trust in different politicians and institutions.External moralising from institutions such as the EU may reduce corruption in Accession States while simultaneously increasing perceptions of it. And within these states, that moralising `culture which can resist corruption' which the EU demands, itself tends, perversely, to increase (not decrease) perceptions, suspicions, and allegations of corruption.