Research work conducted at ERCAS was recently presented at the XXIInd World Congress of Political Science, held in Madrid on July 8-12 and organised by the International Political Science Association (IPSA). ERCAS Director Prof. Alina Mungiu-Pippidi and senior fellow Aare Kasemets participated in the panel “Corruption and Democratic Governance: New Approaches, New Evidence”, as part of the session on Comparative Politics and Political Institutions.
Prof. Mungiu-Pippidi presented the paper “Contextual Choices in Fighting Corruption: a Framework and Some Evidence”, in which she continues her line of research emphasising corruption as a collective action problem in contrast to the principal-agent framework of analysis present in large part of the literature on corruption. Moreover, she turns the focus away from causes of corruption to the question of why some countries evolve to ethical universalism and integrity as main governance norms, while the majority does not.
By using quantitative and qualitative approaches to improve the understanding on transitions to good governance, she finds that prominent anti-corruption ‘remedies’ promoted in the last years by international organisations and donors, such as the adoption of anti-corruption agencies, show no significant impact in contributing to improve control of corruption at the national level. In a comparison of nine countries considered as achievers, she applies an ‘equilibrium model’ with four dimensions that contribute to explain developments in control of corruption, and points out that these countries’ transitions involved significant change in at least three of the four dimensions presented, but specific paths taken by each countries vary considerably. Prof. Mungiu-Pippidi thus argues in favor of a new generation of anti-corruption programmes tailored to the specific political dynamics of each country.
As a complement to her analysis, senior fellow Aare Kasemets presented the paper “The Long Transition to Good Governance: the Case of Estonia”, where he examines the country’s remarkable transition from a totalitarian regime to good governance in the past two decades. According to Mr. Kasemets’s research, Estonia illustrates a case of a ‘big bang’ transformation, with simultaneous reforms in all four dimensions of the model discussed by Prof. Mungiu-Pippidi. Mr. Kasemets shows detailed evidence of these developments and highlights as main drivers of change Estonia’s external environment, windows of opportunity in the internal policy sphere and the readiness of Estonian political elites to promote important reforms. In addition to that, the author explores an integrative understanding of how to improve control of political and administrative corruption via better regulation measures, and emphasises the need for interdisciplinary research to better connect the equilibrium model of control of corruption to the challenges of regulatory governance.