When do anticorruption laws matter? The evidence on public integrity enabling contexts

This paper asks if there is evidence that the most common legislation recommended and used in the current anticorruption toolkit is effective in reducing corruption and if specific contexts can be identified which enable or disable effective legislation for control of corruption. The paper draws on documented public accountability and anticorruption tools from the PAM, […]

Civil society and online connectivity: controlling corruption on the net?

Over the past years, an increasing number of studies have looked at the use of internet and communications technology (ICT) in the fight against corruption. While there is broad agreement that ICT tools can be effective in controlling corruption, the mechanisms by which they are doing this are much less clear. This paper attempts to […]

Red tape, bribery and government favouritism: evidence from Europe

Red tape has long been identified as a major cause of corruption, hence deregulation was advocated as an effective anticorruption tool, an advice which many country followed. However, we lack robust systematic evidence on whether deregulation actually lowers corruption. This is partially due to the difficulty of defining what is good regulation, but also to […]

Measuring Control of Corruption by a New Index of Public Integrity

While the last 20 years saw the invention of corruption rankings, allowing comparison between countries and the shaming of corrupt governments, such measurements are largely based on the perceptions of experts, lacking both specificity and transparency. New research, based on a comprehensive theory of governance defined as the set of formal and informal institutions determining […]

Opening Public Officials’ Coffers: A Quantitative Analysis of the Impact of Financial Disclosure Regulation on National Corruption Levels

Disclosure of income, assets and conflicts of interest can serve as powerful public accountability tools to draw attention to the abuse of public office, help prosecute corrupt offenders and create a culture of scrutiny in the public sector that deters corruption. Based on data of the World Bank’s Public Accountability Mechanisms initiative, we present the […]

An Objective Corruption Risk Index Using Public Procurement Data

In order to address the lack of reliable indicators of corruption, this article develops a composite indicator of high-level institutionalised corruption through a novel ‘Big Data’ approach. Using publicly available electronic public procurement records in Hungary, we identify “red flags” in the public procurement process and link them to restricted competition and recurrent contract award […]

Measuring Government Favouritism Objectively: The Case of Romanian Public Construction Sector

Government favouritism in the allocation of public funds raises costs for any society in which corruption prevails. Particularistic transactions can be identified in three different situations: uncompetitive awards of public contracts when there is only one “competitive” tender, when public money is spent on contracts supplied by politically connected firms, and a situation of capture […]

Measuring Political Corruption from Audit Results: A New Panel of Brazilian Municipalities

Comparative research on corruption has always faced challenges on how to reliably measure this phenomenon. Indicators based on perceptions of or experience with corruption are the most common approaches, but these methods have also faced criticism regarding limitations to their conceptual and measurement validity. A number of scholars have thus sought to develop alternative, more […]

The Quest for Good Governance: Learning from Virtuous Circles

Once of interest mainly to specialists, the problem of explaining how institutions change is now a primary concern not only of economists, but of the international donor community as well. Many have come to believe that political institutions are decisive in shaping economic institutions and, with them, the course of innovation and investment that leads […]

Bureaucratic Structure, Regulatory Quality, and Entrepreneurship in a Comparative Perspective: Cross-Sectional and Panel Data Evidence

The article examines the effect of meritocratic recruitment and tenure protection in public bureaucracies on regulatory quality and business entry rates in a global sample. Utilizing a cross-country measure on the extent of meritocratic entry to bureaucracy and a time-series indicator of tenure protection, it subjects theoretical claims that these features improve the epistemic qualities […]

Minding Weber more than ever? The impacts of State Capacity and Bureaucratic Autonomy on development goals

State capacity has attracted renewed interest over the last years, notably in the study of violent conflict. Yet, this concept is conceived differently depending on where the interest lies. In this article, we focus on bureaucratic autonomy as a distinct concept and discuss its connection to state capacity in detail. Using panel data over 1990–2010 […]

Fixing Europe Is About Performance, Not Democracy

The gradual drop in public confidence in the EU since the beginning of the 2008 economic crisis indicates an erosion of the long-held belief among citizens and elites alike that European integration is the best option to secure a better future. But is it EU democracy that is being challenged here, or is democracy itself […]

Good governance powers innovation

Many believe innovation can lead the way out of the present economic crisis. In Europe and the United States leaders have repeatedly referred to the importance of innovation, research and education to sustaining economic growth. The concept that innovation is the key to prosperity is great- but we must understand that this applies to a […]

The Splintering of Postcommunist Europe

There are two radically different versions of the postcommunist narrative. One tells the triumphal tale of the only world region in which the reforms recommended by the “Washington consensus” worked. The other and more realistic account speaks of a historic window of opportunity that lasted for only a quarter-century, during which efforts by the West […]

Becoming Denmark: Historical Designs of Corruption Control

Why do some societies manage to control corruption so it manifests itself only occasionally, as an exception, while other societies do not and remain systemically corrupt? And is the superior performance of this first group of countries a result of what they do or of who they are? Most current anticorruption strategies presume the former, which is why institutions from […]

Domestic Implementation of Human Rights Judgments in Europe: Legal Infrastructure and Government Effectiveness Matter

Over the past couple of years, international law and international relations scholarship has shifted its focus from the question of whether human rights treaties bring any state-level improvements at all to investigations in the domestic context of the factors and dynamics influencing state compliance. In this direction, and focusing on the European Court of Human […]

The Legacies of 1989: The Transformative Power of Europe Revisited

Why has the EU succeeded in promoting democracy in the new member states but failed in promoting good governance?  This essay seeks to answer this question first by distinguishing governance from political regimes, and second by exploring to what extent national governance—which is defined as the set of formal and informal institutions that determine who […]

Mode of International Investment and Endogenous Risk of Expropriation

This paper analyzes the relationship between the mode of international investment and institutional quality. Foreign investors from a capital-rich North can either purchase productive assets in a capital-poor South and transfer their capital within integrated multinational firms or they can form joint ventures with local asset owners. The South is ruled by an autocratic elite […]

Financial Liberalization and Institutional Development

This study empirically analyzes the effects of de jure financial openness on institutional quality as captured by indicators on investment risk, corruption level, impartiality of judiciary system, and the effectiveness of bureaucracy. We show that a higher degree of financial openness improves institutional quality mainly by reducing investment risks. We also study the effect of […]

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 […]

Financial Integration in Autocracies: Greasing the Wheel or More to Steal

This paper analyzes the influence of financial integration on institutional quality. We construct a dynamic political-economic model of an autocracy in which a ruling elite uses its political power to expropriate the general population. Although financial integration reduces capital costs for entrepreneurs and thereby raises gross incomes in the private sector, the elite may counteract […]

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 […]

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 […]