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.

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.

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.

Anti-Corruption Programmes, Studies and Projects in Estonia 1997-2009: an Overview

This Working Paper on Estonia is made for the international research project “Civil society as anticorruption actor. What makes it work?” initiated by Romanian Academic Society. The general sample is including all Estonian anti-corruption programmes, audits and projects from 1998 to 2009. Both international donors’ reports and local projects were analysed.

The analysis of the local anti-corruption projects shows that usually there is available the information on planned outputs, outcomes and impacts of the projects, in many cases we can find also the achieved outputs and outcomes, but in most cases there is no concrete public information available on real impacts and sustainability factors of the anti-corruption projects.

A Diagnosis of Corruption in the Czech Republic

As the different surveys and opinion polls suggest, corruption and lack of transparency is, despite minor improvements, the longstanding problem in the Czech Republic´s public space. Perceived as the burning issue, the discourse on introduction of new anticorruption measures is high on the political parties´ list of priority agenda within the current political campaign before May 2010 general elections. How does that play out in the long run?

A Diagnosis of Corruption in Bulgaria

Corruption is a complex phenomenon which refers to different practices from the political, social and economic spectrums. Therefore, is hard to be described in just couple of sentences and it is even harder to be measured. Yet, international institutions and non-governmental organizations have developed different indexes and tools to actually measure corruption.

The current report presents some of the best known instruments in a case study examination of the level of corruption in Bulgaria for the last ten years. Based on the provided overview of the corruption environment the report elaborates on some of the best examples of civil society anti-corruption initiatives in Bulgaria in order to highlight those organizations, which activities actually improved the general situation in the country.

A Diagnosis of Corruption in Albania

How corrupt is Albania? 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.

Ottomans into Europeans: State and Institution-building in South Eastern Europe

While many histories of the Balkans have been published, some very good and others poor, there is as yet no history of institutions in the Balkans. This is what the contributors to Ottomans into European offer the reader: a history of the most salient political institutions of the region: bureaucracies, judiciaries, democratic elections, free media, local and central government – and their frequently strained relations with traditional institutions. They also examine the selection, evolution, and performance of institutions in the post-Ottoman Balkans, and try to account for variations throughout the region. In writing this institutional history of the Balkans the contributors set themselves two key questions: did the post-Ottoman wave of Europeanization and Western-type institution building fail in the Balkans, and does this explain the region’s continuing political fragility? And if this is the case, are there underlying structural determinants explaining that failure which might manifest themselves again in present attempts to re-integrate the region, from Turkey to Albania?

You can find more informaiton and purchase the book here.

Reviews for this publication

In this agreeable little book Andrei Pippidi gives an elegant survey of a field that has been much studied in recent years.”
Times Literary Supplement

An extremely important contribution to the scholarly literature on the Balkans. … By exploring the original transition in the Balkans – from the Ottoman Empire to ‘Europe’ – it will also be relevant to those working on the current transition in the region from communism to liberal-democracy and the EU.”
Dr Dejan Djokic, University of London

“Ottomans into Europeans examines an earlier ‘transition’ of the Balkans. The volume is a trans-national approach to the problems faced by the states and societies of the south-eastern peninsula of Europe as they emerged from dynastic empires. They aspired, however clumsily, to become again fully part of Europe with the belief that western political institutions were a source of stability and prosperity. That was before the clash between Nazi-fascism and communism brought that first transition to an end. Scholars, students and other readers interested in the current transition of the region – which could be called ‘communists to Europeans’ – will learn from this study of models, choices and change in an earlier phase of post-imperial state-building.”  Professor Stevan Pavlowitch, author, Hitler’s New Disorder: The Second World War in Yugoslavia

For anyone interested in the Balkans this is the right book at the right time. Just as the Balkans return to Europe and Greece, given its current difficulties, returns to the Balkans, this book is a timely examination of key historical issues essential for an understanding of state and society today, especially in the light of the great project of the age, European integration.
Tim Judah, Balkans Correspondent, The Economist

Twenty Years of Postcommunism: The Other Transition

The recent history of Eastern Europe can best be understood as a transition to a new social contract between the postcommunist state that emerged from its communist predecessor and the postcommunist citizen who evolved from the communist subject. It is the relationship between state and society under communism that best explains the divergent paths taken by the former communist countries after 1989. Where societies had been weak, these networks managed to capture full social control during the transition, using their influence to appropriate former state assets. Where the gap had been widest between the level of state power and the level of social autonomy during communism, the most difficult transitions ensued, as there was no ground on which to build a social contract.

Moldova’s “Twitter Revolution”

Few Europeans had heard of Moldova, a tiny state on the EU’s eastern flank, before seeing images of the strife that broke out there in early April 2009 after the Communist Party (PCRM) won reelection in a landslide. Except for their international context, the events in Moldova did not differ substantially from those that sparked the color revolutions in Serbia, Georgia, and Ukraine, but this difference in context led to a different outcome. What was missing in Moldova? The short answer is a unified opposition that could put itself in the driver’s seat.