Governmental Responses to Political Corruption
- LAST MODIFIED: 30 August 2016
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756223-0177
- LAST MODIFIED: 30 August 2016
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756223-0177
Corruption is a complex social, political, and economic phenomenon that affects all countries to different degrees. There has been a dramatic resurgence of interest for the term in the early 21st century. As a term it has many meanings. It is viewed most broadly as the misuse of office for unofficial ends. Transparency International defines it as one of the greatest challenges of the contemporary world. The catalogue of corrupt acts includes bribery, extortion, nepotism, fraud, and embezzlement. There are also different forms of corruption. While bureaucratic or petty corruption occurs at a smaller scale and within established social frameworks and governing norms, political or grand corruption occurs at the highest levels of government, involving significant subversion of political, legal, and economic systems. Political corruption is a relatively new challenge for social sciences, although it has been an issue for politics and society for many centuries. The topic attracts international scholars from various fields of social science such as political science, economics, international relations, philosophy, law, sociology, and history. The notion of corrupt and/or unethical behavior is usually analyzed by Western scholars from perspectives of political economy, behavioral ethics, organizational behavior, and management studies. However, some of the most important “classic” social science perspectives such as history, sociology, anthropology, and psychology provide important insights on corruption in particular for the non-Western contexts. There are a growing number of studies employing an interdisciplinary or even a holistic approach toward corruption that helps us to understand the complexity of the concept more adequately. In this regard, various empirical and theoretical studies have produced a bewildering array of alternative definitions, typologies, and remedies for corruption in various countries. Especially after the availability of wider data sets, empirical studies have flourished immensely to examine the causes and consequences of corruption. However, this has generated a rich methodological debate on how corruption could be measured and assessed. Coupled with emergence of wider data sets, including many countries around the globe, the signatures and ratification of international conventions against corruption resulted in significant anticorruption boom at the global scale. International efforts have promoted anticorruption provisions at national levels. Most of these anticorruption reform processes are driven to a large extent by government responses to economic crises. Following this trend, literature focusing on national anticorruption policies has emerged. Since then we have witnessed a boom of useful single and comparative country studies that analyze the diverging effects of international anticorruption initiatives. Yet, the cross-country comparisons revealed problems due to the fact that the definitions and meanings of corruption vary across countries, legal traditions, and cultures. Recently, more research has been conducted on country-specific conditions and implementation of anticorruption strategies in different contexts. The selected outputs listed below provide a general framework on political corruption including definition, historical background, measurement, and government responses at national, regional, and international level.
There has been a considerable increase in the number of studies on corruption specifically focusing on the nature, causes, consequences and remedies of the phenomenon in the past thirty years. The studies listed below give a general overview about political corruption and mark new avenues in the research field. Heidenheimer 1970 provides a general overview of corruption. It contains a wide range of seminal pieces, and along with subsequent editions, has built upon this nucleus of classic studies in laying out the nature and development of the concept of corruption. Rose-Ackerman 1978 on corruption is a classic study of corruption in bureaucratic and legislative processes. In her recent handbook on the economics of corruption Rose-Ackerman provides cutting-edge work regarding economic research on corruption. Heywood 1997 is a comprehensive volume of essays specifically addressing political corruption and devotes its attention primarily to the public sphere in which political actors operate. Klitgaard 1988 provides one of the more influential definitions and explanations of corruption in terms of the presence of monopoly and discretion and the absence of accountability and identifies remedies for it. Rothstein 2011 provides an analysis on the connection between the quality of government and important economic, political, and social outcomes and grapples with issues of corruption and legitimacy. Heywood 2014 is a well-structured handbook on political corruption that is devoted to definition, causes, consequences and measurement of corruption. The book also points out new directions in the corruption research.
Heidenheimer, Arnold J. Political Corruption: Readings in Comparative Analysis. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1970.
Drawing on the classic studies on corruption, this study offers concepts, cases, and evidence for comparative analysis on political corruption and incorporates critical analyses of approaches to reform.
Heywood, Paul. Political Corruption. Oxford: Blackwell, 1997.
This is a comprehensive set of studies dealing with political corruption and moves beyond descriptive work by highlighting unexplored dimensions of corruption and developing a model to explain cyclical corruption.
Heywood, Paul. Handbook of Political Corruption. London: Routledge, 2014.
This is a must-have handbook on political corruption edited by a well-known scholar in the field. It provides research being conducted in Europe and North America in the field of political corruption and is structured around four core themes in the study of corruption in the contemporary world: understanding and defining the nature of corruption, identifying its causes, measuring its extent, and analyzing its consequences.
Klitgaard, Robert. Controlling Corruption. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988.
This is an excellent book that provides an elegant formula for corruption: Corruption is equal to monopoly plus discretion minus accountability. Klitgaard also presents a framework for designing anticorruption policies. Through five detailed case studies the author elaborates on how corruption could be controlled.
Rose-Ackerman, Susan. Corruption: A Study in Political Economy. New York: Academic Press, 1978.
This is an essential book that will help many readers to understand bureaucratic and legislative corruption. It provides a helpful reading on political economy aspect of corruption in modern societies that heralds the interest of economics in the study of corruption.
Rose-Ackerman, Susan, ed. International Handbook on the Economics of Corruption. Vol. 1. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, 2006.
This comprehensive handbook provides specially commissioned essays, and theoretical and empirical analyses on institutional structures to fight corruption. Also concentrates on particular sectors such as education, tax administration, and customs services. This excellent handbook should serve as a firsthand reference for students and scholars seeking a particular up-to-date source in corruption in general.
Rothstein, Bo. The Quality of Government: Corruption, Social Trust, and Inequality in International Perspective. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011.
Provides a theoretical foundation for empirical analysis on the quality of government and defines the basic characteristic of quality government as impartiality in the exercise of power. Rothstein examines the impact of quality of government on economic growth and development through cross-sectional analyses, experimental studies, and in-depth historical investigations.
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.
How to Subscribe
Oxford Bibliographies Online is available by subscription and perpetual access to institutions. For more information or to contact an Oxford Sales Representative click here.
Purchase an Ebook Version of This Article
Ebooks of the Oxford Bibliographies Online subject articles are available in North America via a number of retailers including Amazon, vitalsource, and more. Simply search on their sites for Oxford Bibliographies Online Research Guides and your desired subject article.
If you would like to purchase an eBook article and live outside North America please email firstname.lastname@example.org to express your interest.
- Advanced Democracies, Electoral System Reform in
- Advanced Democracies, Public Opinion and Public Policy in
- Advertising and Election Campaigns in the United States
- Africa, Comparative Politics of
- American Indian Politics
- Arab-Israel Conflict, The
- Arendt, Hannah
- Aristotle's Political Thought
- Australia and New Zealand, Comparative Politics of
- Authoritarianism in Russia
- Bicameralism in Stable Democracies
- Biopolitics and State Regulation of Human Life
- Brazilian Political Development
- Business-State Relations in Europe
- Campaign Finance in the Era of Super-PACS
- Canadian Foreign Policy
- Candidate Emergence and Recruitment
- Channels of Electoral Representation in Advanced Industria...
- China's One-Child Policy
- China-Taiwan Relations
- Chinese Communist Party
- Chinese Economic Policy
- Chinese Nationalism
- Civil Society in South Asia
- Civil War in Sub-Saharan Africa
- Civil-Military Relations in Asia
- Civil-Military Relations in Latin America
- Class in American Politics
- Comparative Capitalism Theory
- Comparative Industrial Relations in Europe
- Comparative Politics of Angola, Mozambique, and Guinea-Bis...
- Comparative Politics of Chile and Uruguay
- Comparative Politics of Federalism
- Comparative Politics of the Middle East and North Africa
- Congress, Defense, and Foreign Policy
- Congressional Reassertion of Authority
- Conservative Litigation Strategies and Groups in US Judici...
- Corruption in China
- Cosmopolitan Political Thought
- Crisis of European Integration in Historical Perspective, ...
- Critical Theory and the Frankfurt School
- Cuban Political Development
- Cycles of Protest
- Democracy and Authoritarianism in Sub-Saharan Africa
- Democracy and Dictatorship in Central Asia
- Democracy in Latin America
- Democratic Citizenship
- Democratic Consolidation
- Democratic Peace Theory
- Democratic Theory
- Democratization in Africa
- Democratization in Central America
- Democratization in Mexico
- Development of Survey Research
- Direct Democracy in the United States
- East Africa, Politics of
- Economic Voting
- Election Forecasting
- Election Laws in Democracies
- Electoral and Party System Development in Sub-Saharan Afri...
- Electoral Change in Latin America
- Emotion and Racial Attitudes in Contemporary American Poli...
- Environmental Governance
- Environmental Politics among Advanced Industrial Democraci...
- Ethnic Diasporas and US Foreign Policy
- Ethnic Politics
- Eurasia, Comparative Politics of
- European Social Democracy
- European Union, Politics of the
- Failed and Weak States in Theory and Practice
- Far-Right Parties in Europe
- Federalism in the United States
- Field Experiments
- Filibuster, The
- Gender and Electoral Politics in the United States
- Gender and International Relations
- Gender, Behavior, and Representation
- Global Inequality
- Globalization and the Welfare State
- Globalization, Health Crises, and Health Care
- Governance in Africa
- Governmental Responses to Political Corruption
- Gridlock and Divided Government in the U.S.
- Historiography of Twentieth-Century American Conservatism,...
- Hobbes’s Political Thought
- Hume’s Political Thought
- Hybrid Regimes
- Identity and Political Behavior
- Immigrant Incorporation in Canada
- Immigrant Incorporation in Western Europe
- Immigration and International Relations
- Immigration Politics and Policy in the United States
- Impact of Campaign Contributions on Congressional Behavior...
- Implicit Attitudes in Public Opinion
- Income Dynamics and Politics in North America and Europe
- Income Inequality and Advanced Democracies
- Income Inequality in the United States, The Politics of
- Indian Democracy
- Indigenous Rights and Governance in Canada, Australia, and...
- Informal Practices of Accountability in Urban Africa
- Institutional Change in Advanced Democracies
- Intellectual Property in International Relations
- Interest Groups and Inequality in the United States
- Interest Groups in American Politics
- International Conflict Management
- International Criminal Justice
- International Law
- International NGOs
- International Political Economy of Illegal Drugs
- Internet and Politics, The
- Iran, Political Development of
- Israeli Politics
- Judicial Supremacy and National Judicial Review
- Judiciaries and Politics in East Asia
- Kant's Political Thought
- Labor Politics in East Asia
- Land Reform in Latin America
- Latin America, Democratic Transitions in
- Latin America, Environmental Policy and Politics in
- Latin America, Guerrilla Insurgencies in
- Latin America, Social Movements in
- Legal Mobilization
- LGBT Politics in the United States
- Liberal Pluralism
- Local Governments in the United States
- Machiavelli’s Political Thought
- Marx's Political Thought
- Mass Incarceration and US Politics
- Mechanisms of Representation
- Media Effects in Politics
- Media Politics in South Asia
- Minority Political Engagement and Representation in the Un...
- Modern Dynastic Rule
- Modern Elections and Voting Behavior in Europe
- National Interbranch Politics in the United States
- NATO, Politics of
- Negative Campaigning
- Neoclassical Realism
- New Institutionalism Revisited, The
- North America, Comparative Politics of
- Oil, Politics of
- Origins and Impact of Proportional Representation, The
- Outcomes of Social Movements and Protest Activities
- Partisan and Nonpartisan Theories of Organization in the U...
- Partisan Polarization in the US Congress
- Partisan Polarization in the US Electorate
- Party Networks
- Peace Operations
- Personality and Politics
- Plato's Political Thought
- Policy Responsiveness to Public Opinion
- Political Economy of Financial Regulation in Advanced Ind...
- Political Economy of Taxation, The
- Political Geography in American Politics
- Political Obligation
- Political Parties and Electoral Politics of Japan
- Political Thought, Hegel's
- Political Thought of the American Founders, The
- Politics and Policy in Contemporary Argentina
- Politics of Anti-Americanism
- Politics of Class Formation
- Politics of Disaster Prevention and Management
- Politics of Financial Crises
- Politics of Foreign Direct Investment in South Asia
- Politics of Higher Education in the U.S.
- Politics of Internal Conquest in the United States and Can...
- Politics of Japan
- Politics of Natural Disasters, The
- Politics of North Korea
- Politics of Science and Technology
- Politics of South Africa
- Politics of Southern Africa
- Postcolonialism and International Relations
- Post-Communist Democratization
- Preferential Trade Agreements, Politics of
- Presidential Persuasion and Public Opinion
- Presidential Primaries and Caucuses
- Private Governance
- Public Opinion in Advanced Industrial Democracies
- Public Opinion in New Democracies and Developing Nations
- Public Presidency, US Elections, and the Permanent Campaig...
- Qualitative Methods, The Renewal of
- Race in American Political Thought
- Racial and Ethnic Descriptive Representation in the United...
- Regime Transitions and Variation in Post-Communist Europe
- Regional Integration in Latin America
- Regional Security
- Regulating Food Production
- Religion in American Political Thought
- Religion in Contemporary Political Thought
- Religion, Politics, and Civic Engagement in the United Sta...
- Rousseau's Political Thought
- Rule of Law
- Russia and the West
- Science and Democracy
- Social Policy and Immigrant Integration
- South Korea, Politics of
- Spectacle, The
- State Building in Sub-Saharan Africa
- State Formation
- State, The Nature of the
- Supreme Court of the United States, The
- Systemic Theories of International Politics
- Taiwan, Politics of
- Tea Party, The
- The New Right in American Political Thought
- Transitional Justice
- Transnational Private Regulation
- Turkey, Political Development of
- US Military Bases Abroad
- US Presidency, The
- Voter Turnout
- Welfare State Development
- Welfare State Development in Latin America
- Welfare State Development in Western Europe
- West Africa, Politics of
- Worker Politics in China
- Youth and Generational Differences in US Politics