Bottom of the Heap. The Case of Romania

The suspension of EU payments in four operational programmes in 2012 showed how problematic Romania’s correct and effective management of EU funds is. Such funds aim primarily at decreasing the socio-economic disparities among EU members and support the economic convergence with their Western counterparts of less developed new EU members. Consequently, a poor absorption rate of EU funds threatens income convergence between old and new member countries, thus representing a major challenge for EU integration. Currently, Romania has the poorest absorption rate among all the EU Member States and the worst among the ten new Member States. Moreover, the financial corrections, which amount to roughly 22% of the assimilated European funds, further reduce the real absorption rate, a loss which can be attributed entirely to corruption and mismanagement. The present report investigates the proportion of EU funds which can reasonably be considered at risk because of mismanagement and corruption, asks what are the main defrauding tactics used at national level to obtain European money illicitly, and considers the extent to which the suspension or cancellation of EU assistance might be the best policy for dealing with the situation. In addition, the report will put forward a list of recommendations for the next EU programming period which are intended to mitigate the effects of corruption and mismanagement that result in a waste of public resources.

Hidden Depths. The Case of Hungary

This report investigates corruption risk of EU funds spending in Hungary within the framework of the Public Procurement Law. Its finding is that in spite of what is a tight regulatory framework EU funds are likely to fuel the abuse of public spending. Even though public procurement using EU funds faces considerably more stringent regulation, their use poses much greater corruption risks when compared with funds procured domestically and corruption risks are particularly pronounced for large projects. The report also argues that large-scale institutionalized corruption in Hungary may be widespread and driven primarily by political cycles. Such corruption, often labeled “legal corruption”, typically involves neither bribery nor collusion between lower level bureaucrats and private individuals; rather, it operates through contractual relationships which benefit the highest echelons of the political and business elite. There are a small number of new anti-corruption initiatives of the new government which entered office in 2010, but while they might indicate a positive step towards higher public sector integrity, their results are yet to be seen.

Global comparative trend analysis report

Can governance be changed by human agency? The answer to this central policy question has been taken for granted in the last twenty years as good governance promotion began to feature as a top priority of every international donor organization. Despite this fact, the answer is not as simple. In this introductory study the answer is divided in two parts. The first question pertains to whether governance—as defined in the framework of this project as a set of institutions determining who gets what in a given society—evolves at all, other than incrementally, in the absence of radical intervening factors (e.g., war, military occupation or natural disaster). The second part questions, where such natural evolution can be observed with some certainty, is it intentional human agency which brings the change about. The objective of this trend analysis report is to answer the first part of the question and identify cases of evolution.

Controlling Corruption Through Collective Action

Control of corruption in a society is an equilibrium between resources and costs which either empowers or constraints elites predatory behavior. While most research and practice focuses on legal constraints, this paper investigates normative constraints, deemed to be more important, especially civil society and the press. Fresh evidence—both historical and statistical—is found to support Tocqueville’s assertions regarding the importance of collective action and the joint action of media and associations in not only creating a democratic society, but controlling corruption as well. However, little is known on how to build normative constraints.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Controlling Corruption in the European Union

For many years corruption was seen as a problem only of developing countries, while the European Union (EU) on the contrary was the temple of the rule of law, exporting good governance both to its own peripheries and worldwide. Many European countries indeed remain among the best governed in the world, although the downfall of the Santer Commission on charges of corruption, the enlargement of the EU by its incorporation of new member countries with unfinished transitions, and the economic crisis all strongly indicate that control of corruption is difficult to build and hard to sustain. Older member countries Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain have all regressed rather than progressed since they joined – the first two of them to worrying levels – and that has raised doubts about the EU’s transformative effect on its members.

FOIA as an Anti-Corruption Tool

This paper tests, explores and exemplifies the role of freedom of information legislation as an anti-corruption tool. In the first part, its tests freedom of information separately and in comparison with other more popular anti-corruption tools, such as an anti-corruption agency. In the second part, it proposes a more elaborated model explaining control of corruption and argues that transparency legislation is intermediated by the existence of civil society and does not work in its absence. In its last and final part it exemplifies with a project in Romania how freedom of information can be used as an integrity building tool.

The Long Transition to Good Governance: the Case of Estonia. Looking at the changes in the governance regime and anti-corruption policy

This paper deals with the post-communist positive outlier Estonia, which made according to international comparisons perhaps the most spectacular progress in the world, from a totalitarian regime to a quality democracy in less than twenty years. The country has seen improvement in all four dimensions of control of corruption described in the equilibrium model of Alina Mungiu-Pippidi (2011) since the restoration of its independence in 1991. The changes in the different dimensions happened almost simultaneously. During the first government of Mart Laar (1992-1995), policies that reduced material resources and strengthened legal constraints were implemented. Estonia pioneered important liberal reforms, for instance the adoption of a flat tax which then became very trendy in Eastern Europe and a very advanced e-government inspired from the neighbouring Finland. It also had the most radical policy towards Soviet time judiciary, replacing most of it and restarting practically all over with new magistrates. Normative constraints are also high, with a public opinion intolerant of particularism, an active civil society and a free press. The paper tries to explain why Estonian elites succeeded in promoting good governance and anti-corruption measures more than most other Central and Eastern European countries. In addition, author is looking for integrative understanding how to improve the control of political and administrative corruption mechanisms via the better regulation measures (e.g. impact assessment, participation, simplification) and support of political motivation.

Corruption: A Modern Day Hydra. Understanding the monster through the eyes of the people.

The present paper considers corruption to be a deeply complex phenomenon that should be broken down to its essential components in order to develop a deeper understanding of it. Therefore, in this study, corruption shall be broken down into three categories which are namely judicial, bureaucratic and political corruption. These three forms of corruption are “same but different” as even though they all entail the deviation of norms, the scale and effects they have on the society are in fact very different. This paper shall seek to fill the gap by examining and identifying the drivers of corruption through the lens of the general public by using data obtained from TI’s Global Corruption Barometer (GCB). In addition, this study shall also seek to prove that people’s perception of corruption offer valuable insights and should thus be used to triangulate with expert’s opinions to derive a more robust and holistic measure of corruption.

Contextual Choices in Fighting Corruption: Lessons Learned

Why is it that despite unprecedented investment in anti-corruption in the last fifteen years and the implementation of global monitoring and legislation, so few countries managed to register progress in fighting corruption? This new report commissioned by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) to the Hertie School of Governance aims to see what could be learnt from weaknesses in current support to fighting corruption at country level and identify approaches that can be more effective in fighting corruption in different governance contexts.

The report revealed that conceptual flaws, imprecise measurement instruments and inadequate strategies are to blame for the lack of progress in fighting corruption. But it also argues that the quest for public integrity is a political one, between predatory elites in a society and its losers and fought primarily on domestic playgrounds. As such, the donor community can play only a limited part and it needs to play this part strategically in order to create results. Based on new statistical evidence, the report recommends cash-on-delivery/selectivity approaches for anti-corruption assistance. Effective and sustainable policies for good governance need to diminish the political and material resources of corruption and build normative constraints in the form of domestic collective action. Most of the current anti-corruption strategies, on the contrary, focus on increasing legal constraints, which often fail because most interventions are localized in societies that lack the rule of law.

Political Economy Analysis of Corruption in Ghana

Ghana on one hand, since its return to democratic rule in 1993, has experienced a continuous growth in consolidating its democracy, leading it to be one of the most referred to success stories of democracy in Africa. On the other hand, corruption continues to be a problem in spite of the several proclaimed measures by governments to curb it. This paper hence seeks to explore the question: has Ghana evolved on the control of corruption? If not, why and what can be done?

Control of Corruption: the Road to Effective Improvement. Lessons from Six Progress Cases

In the last two decades, the emergence of an international good governance agenda has fostered the implementation of anti-corruption efforts in several countries. Nevertheless, recent assessments of those efforts reveal that the vast majority of initiatives have not produced concrete positive results. Only a few countries have made considerable progress in reducing corruption, and there is still limited knowledge about what has determined their positive experiences. This paper attempts to contribute to this discussion by engaging in a comparative analysis of six countries that have improved in terms of control of corruption. These countries are: Uruguay, Estonia, Botswana, Taiwan, South Korea and Ghana. The framework for analysis is based on a model of corruption as a function of power discretion, material resources and legal and normative constraints (Mungiu-Pippidi, 2010). Additionally, particular attention is paid to the role of political agents as drivers of change, with a focus on political leaders, civil society, media and enforcement institutions.

Beyond Good Governance: Performance of the International Anticorruption Institutional Arsenal Put to the Test

With political corruption posing a serious threat to democracy and its consolidation, anticorruption efforts have in recent years shifted from a reduced reliance on political tools to an increased support of the legislative and institutional means. The present thesis, using quantitative cross-sectional models, analyzes the performance of four, highly advocated, institutional transplants. Results suggest that an installment of the Freedom of Information Acts (FOIA) can, in the presence of an active civil society and attentive opposition to the governing structures, significantly decrease levels of corruption in a country.

Aid Selectivity and Anti-Corruption Policy: a Case Study of the Millenium Challenge Corporation

This paper argues that corruption control is the most fundamental component of the good governance agenda, since it subverts all the other values of good governance. It is both cause and effect of inefficient and unaccountable institutions. In developing countries, were resources are scarcer and need to be used in the most effective manner, corruption is especially harmful. In an effort to clarify how this move to a more selective, performance based approach can have an influence in the control of corruption of developing countries and therefore serve as model for other donors to follow, this paper will first discuss the concepts of good governance, development, corruption and review its empirical links to aid effectiveness. It will also show the benefits and limitations of measuring governance and corruption and argue for the development of more broad assessments methods.

Transitions to Good Governance: the Case of Tanzania

This report gives a snapshot of the state of corruption in Tanzania between the years 1998 and 2008. Strong presidents, who have endorsed the fight against corruption, as one of their main presidential goals have been the main drivers of change in Tanzania’s fight against corruption. However, there are many shortcomings that are eminent in Tanzania’s endeavour to fight corruption. Enforcement remains limited and capacity, staff, and resources are lagging. Nonetheless, change in the control of corruption is perceived and real. There are different indicators, one of them being that even “the big fish” have been discharged from major political offices. In 2008, a corruption scandal led to the resignation of the prime minister. These revelations and actual changes demonstrate that corruption is becoming an act that is not tolerated by the population and therefore business – in this case being corruption – cannot be carried out “as usual”.

Transitions to Good Governance: the Case of South Korea

This paper traces the development of corruption and pluralism in South Korea all the way back to independence in 1945. It distinguishes and describes three kinds of transition, namely from the simple agrarian society governed by landlords to a complex industrial one, from the authoritarian rule of Park and Chu to democracy, and the overarching transition to good governance. The study finds progress towards the goal of good governance in the land reform of the 1950s, in the establishment of a meritocratic and effective bureaucracy during the 60s and 70s, through the creation of an autonomous and well-educated middle class till the 80s, and finally the fight against the market domination by the Chaebols following the Asian crisis of 1997. Differing from the general literature on anti-corruption but in line with recent developments in the economics literature the fight for an autonomous state in Korea seems to depend on successful regulation of markets.

The Experience of Civil Society as an Anti-Corruption Actor in East Central Europe

Why, despite their most remarkable progress on democracy, have most East Central European states retained modest levels of governance? Is civil society still able to play any significant role in improving governance, even after its institutionalization at low levels of participation, after its initial high mobilization in the early years of democratization? Does the impact, or lack of impact, of civil society do anything to explain the quality of governance? This paper addresses all these issues and more.

A Diagnosis of Corruption in Ukraine

Ukraine is a country with wide scale and systemic corruption, which makes a crucial influence on the economic, political, social and other spheres of public life. The traditionally low scoring of Ukraine by the Corruption Perception Index of the “Transparency International” is the evidence of this. The plague of corruption has penetrated all levels of government and public institutions, starting from the highest-level public officials. All formal and informal institutions have become used to corruption and adapted to it, including law enforcement agencies.

A Diagnosis of Corruption in Slovakia

This paper looks at corruption in Slovakia, the government’s strategy to reduce the levels of corruption and the citizens’ perception of the problem. In addition, it describes what civil society organizations have undertaken to tackle the issue of corruption.

A Diagnosis of Corruption in Serbia

How corrupt is Serbia? What type of corruption? How did it evolve during the years? Was it a period when it was more corrupt and what happened to change that? How strong is the civil society in this country? What is its reputation? Are notable anticorruption projects known without research? Are there any anticorruption heroes? What are they? Who are they? This report will present the answers to all these questions and more.

(Anti-)Corruption in Poland since early 2000 to 2010

This report suggests that although corruption is relatively spread-out in Poland, its level is slowly declining. Improved laws and regulations, which are an effect of government, civil society organizations and international community’s activities, as well as continuous monitoring of public life and officials carried out by state organs as well as civic watchdogs have heavily contributed to reshaping the anti-corruption environment in the country. Additionally, media support has drawn public attention to the issue and has helped to raise awareness about (anti) corruption and its effects. Nonetheless, there is still long way to go to uproot the described corruption-inviting behavior and catch up with leaders of the rankings on the least corrupted jurisdictions. The social change is slow to happen and requires continuous effort on part of both government and the NGO sector to ensure sustainability of this evolution.

A Diagnosis of Corruption in Lithuania

Although Lithuania has done ostensibly much to fight corruption in the last 20 years and especially since the start of the accession talks with the EU, the actual impact of these anti-corruption measures has been questionable. This is due to the fact that even though a strong and comprehensive anti-corruption law base was established, the country’s law enforcement is very weak. Civil society in Lithuania is also weak and has little influence in policy making, especially when it comes to the field of anti-corruption. Here, Transparency International Lithuanian Chapter is an exceptional case, being the only NGO in Lithuania working exclusively in this field.

A Diagnosis of Corruption in Latvia

Latvia stood still in the past two years. As an overall conclusion, the corruption diagnosis identified by a KNAB 2008 report seems still accurate today. Thus, on one side, petty corruption is diminishing and at the same time grand corruption is developing.

A Diagnosis of Corruption in Kosovo

How corrupt is Kosovo? What type of corruption? How did it evolve during the years? Was it a period when it was more corrupt and what happened to change that? How strong is the civil society in this country? What is its reputation? Are notable anticorruption projects known without research? Are there any anticorruption heroes? What are they? Who are they? This report will present the answers to all these questions and more.

A Diagnosis of Corruption in Hungary

How corrupt is Hungary? What type of corruption? How did it evolve during the years? Was there a period when it was more corrupted and what happened to change that? What were the civil society responses? Did the political context allow for more anticorruption measures to be enforced? This report answers all these questions and more.

Georgia: Corruption Developments and Anti-Corruption Activities since 1990s

The improvements made in post-Rose Revolution years with regard to the fight against corruption are evident and they brought about concrete results in the country. Nevertheless, everyone agrees that this should not be considered as a reason for reducing the intensity of anti-corruption reforms. On the contrary, further steps should be planned and taken by the state with the aim of combating corruption with the support of the civil society.