Transitions to Good Governance: Creating Virtuous Circles of Anti-corruption

Why have so few countries managed to leave systematic corruption behind, while in many others modernization is still a mere façade? How do we escape the trap of corruption, to reach a governance system based on ethical universalism? In this unique book, Alina Mungiu-Pippidi and Michael Johnston lead a team of eminent researchers on an illuminating path towards deconstructing the few virtuous circles in contemporary governance. The book combines a solid theoretical framework with quantitative evidence and case studies from around the world. While extracting lessons to be learned from the success cases covered, Transitions to Good Governance avoids being prescriptive and successfully contributes to the understanding of virtuous circles in contemporary good governance.

Offering a balanced but always grounded perspective, this collection combines analytic narratives of existing virtuous circles and how they were established, with an analysis of the global evidence. In doing so the authors explain why governance is so resistant to change, and describe the lessons to be remembered for international anti-corruption efforts. Exploring the primacy of politics over economic development, and in order to understand how vicious circles can be broken, the expert contributions trace the progress of countries that have successfully transitioned. Unprecedentedly, this book goes beyond the tests of different variables to showcase human agency on every continent, and reveals why some nations make the best and others the worst of the same development legacies.

This comprehensive examination of virtuous circles of governance will appeal to all scholars with an interest in transitions, democratization, anti-corruption and good governance. Policy-makers and practitioners in the fields of international development, good governance and democracy support will find it an invaluable resource.

Reviews for this publication

“Vicious cycles, where corruption breeds corruption, present special challenges. Nevertheless, some success stories exist. The case studies in this edited volume highlight reforms that created virtuous cycles, where honesty breeds honesty. Nevertheless, the authors caution that reforms may be fragile and incomplete if policies do not shift expectations and behavior sufficiently enough toward a new, less-corrupt status quo.”

Susan Rose-Ackerman, Yale University

How Does Political Finance Regulation Influence Control of Corruption? Improving Governance in Latin America

In this paper, we address the question of how political finance regulation affects control of corruption in Latin America from a quantitative perspective. We present a Political Finance Regulation Index with panel data from 180 countries over 20 years (1996-2015). This index was developed using the IDEA Political Finance Database, and once created, was applied to assess the relationship between political finance regulation and control of corruption.

In order to do this, we use the equilibrium model of control of corruption developed by Mungiu-Pippidi (2015). We also included judicial independence and public investment, considered as a constraint and an opportunity to corrupt, respectively. Lastly, we use control variables for level of development.

Results show that, in Latin America, increases in political finance regulation are related with a deterioration of control of corruption. This relationship is statistically significant in the panel estimations. Inversely, the negative relationship between regulation and control of corruption becomes positive in countries with high levels of judicial independence. In a similar way, increases in opportunities to corrupt, represented by levels of public investment, have a significant and negative effect in control of corruption.

Process-tracing report on Chile

This paper traces the historical roots of Chile’s low tolerance for corruption and analyzes how the country has successfully remained free from significant corruption scandals despite the greater access to information and more demands for transparency that often result in uncovering corruption in areas that were previously inaccessible to the press and civil society. The economic transformations undertaken under military rule (1973-1990) and consolidated once democracy was restored in 1990 have created a stronger civil society, a freer press and have increased demands for transparency. There is growing information on corruption scandals as the number of social and political actors has increased and there is more competition for resources and markets. As power is more widely distributed, there is less opportunity for covert corrupt practices and more pressure to end former common corrupt practices. While opportunities for corrupt practices expand with economic growth—both in per capita and total national GDP—tolerance for corruption has remained low and a stronger civil society has raised probity standards in the public sector.

Understanding governance virtuous circles: who succeeded and why

Why do some societies manage to control extraction of public resources in favour of particular interests, so that it only manifests itself occasionally, as an exception (corruption), while others societies do not and remain systemically corrupt? Is the superior performance of the first group of countries a result of what they do, or of who they are?

ERCAS is hosting a conference at the European Academy in Grunewald, Berlin from 8-12 July 2015 that will address these questions. The conference, ‘Understanding Governance Virtuous Circles. Who succeeded and why’ is part of the EU FP7 research project ANTICORRP: Anticorruption Policies Revisited: Global Trends and European Responses to the Challenge of Corruption. Our researchers have identified seven countries (Uruguay, Estonia, Chile, Costa Rica, Taiwan, South Korea and Georgia) as the most successful in achieving control of corruption in the past 25 years. We would like to address why and how these countries have been successful and what lessons can be learned from them.

Spaces are extremely limited, but the conference will be live tweeted and a conference report will be published by Cambridge University Press.

 

Speakers:

  • Dr. Mart Laar (ex-prime Minister, Estonia) (by video)
  • Prof. Robert Klitgaard (Claremont Graduate University)
  • Prof. Larry Diamond (Stanford University)
  • Mr. Philip Keefer (World Bank)
  • Prof. Michael Johnston (Colgate University)
  • Prof. Adam Graycar (Australian National University)
  • Prof. Eric Uslaner (University of Maryland)
  • Prof. Ryan Saylor (University of Tulsa)
  • Dr. Mark Plattner (Journal of Democracy)
  • Dr. Natalia Matukhno (Centre for the Study of Public Policy/School of Government and Public Policy)
  • Dr. Martin Mendelski (University of Trier)
  • Dr. Mark Pyman (TI Defense and Security UK)
  • Dr. Daniel Buquet (Universidad de la República de Uruguay)
  • Prof. Bruce Wilson (University of Central Florida Costa Rica)
  • Prof. Patricio Navia (Universidad Diego Portales/New York University)
  • Prof. Paul Felipe Lagunes (Columbia University)
  • Dr. Valts Kalnins (Centre for Public Policy PROVIDUS)
  • Dr. Alexander Kupatadze (University College London)
  • Dr. Marianne Camerer (University of Cape Town)
  • Dr. Halyna Kokhan (UNDP Ukraine)
  • Dr. Anastassia Obydenkova (Harvard University)
  • Prof. Christian Göbel (University of Vienna)
  • Dr. Yong-sung You (The Australian National University)
  • Dr. Mihaly Fazekas (Corvinius University of Budapest)
Agenda Virtuous Circle Conference – Current as of 05 July 2015.

 

Conference papers:

 

Helpful documents:

 

 

Background Paper on Chile

This report examines the successful performance of Chile to control corruption. It discusses the importance of structural and institutional factors that have shaped Chilean political development and its political economy and then it analyses the mechanisms implemented to achieve such a goal.

Chilean Project Exposes Connections between Business and Politics

Conflict of interests in the public administration is a central issue in the anti-corruption agenda. It is among the main concerns of international organisations and donors engaged in efforts to promote anti-corruption practices. Provisions for the prevention of conflict of interests also integrate the international anti-corruption framework, as part of instruments such as the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and regional protocols and codes of conduct regarding anti-corruption measures in the public sector. In the last years, this issue has also become the focus of civil society initiatives to fight corruption, and a project from Chile has recently set a great example for others interested in fighting conflict of interest through increased transparency.

The project, entitled Poderopedia (poder is the Spanish word for power), consists of an open database where the most influential individuals in Chilean business and politics are featured in personal profiles, with information on their biography and connections through family, education, personal friendships, former employment and positions in different levels of government. The platform also allows users to visualise connection maps, where a certain individual is shown in its connections with other individuals and organisations in the database.

According to Miguel Paz, a career journalist who is also the founder of the initiative, this kind of information is particularly relevant in Chile, where social mobility is limited, certain families exert influence in multiple sectors, and conflicts of interest are a common problem. The project seeks to show Chilean people “the who is who of business and politics in Chile” with information that is high relevant and useful for journalists, researchers and civil society organisations to understand how these connections affect policy-making.

The project is conducted by the organisation Poderomedia and is currently financed by a three-year $200,000 grant won at the Knight Foundation’s News Challenge in 2011. The database was developed and implemented on a test phase in May 2012, and since December 2012 a beta version has been publicly available. The information is collected from public sources, or contributed by users through crowdsourcing and then reviewed by journalists, who are responsible for editing the content. Within a week after its launch, Poderopedia had already almost 800 users registered on the webpage and was receiving an average of 26 new facts and connections per day.

The concept of Poderopedia is not revolutionary. Similar initiatives have been successfully implemented in the United States: the platform theyrule.net, created in 2001, shows connections between board members of the main corporations, foundations and think-tanks in the country, and the project LittleSis, implemented by the Public Accountability Initiative, uncovers the links between influential individuals and corporations and the US government. Nevertheless, Poderopedia has an interesting new feature: an effort to disseminate its platform for replication in other countries. The project has already been contacted by people from Brazil, Portugal, Spain, Argentina, Colombia, Canada and Mexico, who are interested in creating local chapters to apply the Chilean to their context.

(The picture featured above is from straitstimes.com and is credited to AFP.)

 

Political Economy Analysis of Control of Corruption in Chile

The analysis of the World Governance Indicator Control of Corruption and Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) shows that Chile has always been a clean country, but one cannot tell how control of corruption developed. In order to understand control of corruption in Chile, one must look at the transition to democracy period, and also at Chile’s history, analyzing the institutions, power distribution, and the rules of the game since the first democratic period until nowadays in order to understand why control of corruption in Chile has always been higher than in other Latin American countries.

Political Economy Analysis of Control of Corruption in Chile

The analysis of the World Governance Indicator Control of Corruption and Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) shows that Chile has always been a clean country, but one cannot tell how control of corruption developed. In order to understand control of corruption in Chile, one must look at the transition to democracy period, and also at Chile’s history, analyzing the institutions, power distribution, and the rules of the game since the first democratic period until nowadays in order to understand why control of corruption in Chile has always been higher than in other Latin American countries.