24 Mar 2014

Fighting Corruption, What Works and What Does Not

Mungiu-Pippidi argues current anti-corruption strategies are not achieving impact 

Speaking at the OECD in Paris on 19 March 2014, at the Forum on Integrity within the Integrity Week program, ERCAS director Alina Mungiu-Pippidi shared evidence from the ANTICORRP program showing that government favoritism is structured on political lines in new democracies and the use of bribes are frequently a way to open markets as multinational companies try to compete with domestic, politically connected companies.

“While pressure must be put on companies,” she said, “it is ultimately the governments who practice favoritism and are responsible for establishing the norm in social allocation…so they should be under the most scrutiny.”

Mungiu-Pippidi also shared data which shows nearly no impact is achieved through current anti-corruption strategies and that during this unprecedented global campaign against corruption, what The Economist refers to as “crony capitalism” flourished.  She argued that the only tools delivering results in the fight against corruption are “interactions.”

“What works are interactions between active civil society, including the business community and an instrument,” she said, “for instance freedom of information acts and active watchdogs, fiscal transparency and engaged citizens using it.”

Speaking in response, Mark Pieth appreciated that it is good if the anti-corruption community remains “close to the ground” so that they are able to appreciate the impact of the reform efforts.

The new data is from an upcoming ANTICORRP report, an extensive quantitative analysis of causes of achievement and stagnation in the global fight against corruption. The report also argues that particularly in countries where corruption is the norm, top-down reforms are ineffective.