Curbing Business and Political Corruption: Major Task of German Elections Winners

Recent evidence shows that Germany is a laggard on anticorruption policies in Europe. This is acknowledged by OECD, as Germany’s implementation of the anti-bribery convention is no longer convincing, by the Council of Europe, whose GRECO body has labelled Germany’s compliance as unsatisfactory and by the German media and civil society. The new data on transparency and public accountability produced by our centre shows that GRECO is right, and Germany falls below the European average at most public accountability regulations. Moreover, while the EU asks accession countries to have a pro-active policy related to corruption scandals, Germany repeatedly failed to do so. The new government should propose a comprehensive anticorruption policy plan, implement GRECO recommendations on conflict of interest for politicians in full and revive the attempt to make businesses truly responsible for corruption. The new majority in the Bundestag should also move decisively to have anti-corruption institutions truly independent and acting far more decisively and prompt against a large set of practices amounting to systematic undue profit from political connections. The elections winners should propose a comprehensive anticorruption policy plan, implement GRECO recommendations on conflict of interest for politicians in full and revive the attempt to make businesses truly responsible for corruption. The new majority in the Bundestag should also move decisively to have anti-corruption institutions truly autonomous so that investigations are prompt and independent of political considerations. But as the Green Party proposed the only comprehensive plan against corruption this might not happen.

A Research Agenda for Studies of Corruption

This interdisciplinary Research Agenda contains state-of-the-art surveys of the field of corruption and points towards an agenda for future research. Chapters explore top political and grassroots corruption, buying and stealing votes, corruption in relation to gender and the media, digital anti-corruption and an examination of whistleblowing and market-based tools. The book also offers the most advanced research in the measurement of corruption.

Reviews for this publication

“Like the reform movement itself, corruption research needs a reboot. Mungiu-Pippidi and Heywood have assembled a provocative collection that questions old assumptions and takes a fresh look at unresolved issues. Several chapters examine the dynamics of corrupt processes as they fit into broader realities. Concluding chapters examine reforms and reformers themselves, developing propositions about the best way forward.”

Michael Johnston, Colgate University, US

Europe’s Burden: Promoting Good Governance Across Borders

The EU is many things: a civilization ideal to emulate, an anchor of geopolitical stabilization, a generous donor, and a history lesson on cooperation across nations. A fixer of national governance problems, however, it is not. In this book, Mungiu-Pippidi investigates the efficacy of the European Union’s promotion of good governance through its funding and conditionalities both within the EU proper and in the developing world. The evidence assembled shows that the idea of European power to transform the quality of governance is largely a myth. From Greece to Egypt and from Kosovo to Turkey, EU interventions in favour of good governance and anti-corruption policy have failed so far to trigger the domestic political dynamic needed to ensure sustainable change. Mungiu-Pippidi explores how we can better bridge the gap between the Europe of treaties and the reality of governance in Europe and beyond. This book will interest students and scholars of comparative politics, European politics, and development studies, particularly those examining governance and corruption.

Reviews for this publication

“A blistering and contrarian critique of EU anti-corruption efforts from one of the field’s leading authorities. Based on extensive quantitative data spanning both EU member states and a large number of the union’s external partners, the book’s findings have troubling implications for the future of EU good governance strategies – and deserve to be considered with the utmost seriousness.”

Richard Youngs – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Europe

Beyond the lag. How to predict and understand evolutions towards good governance?

This paper tries to forecast good governance evolutions by drawing on the time trends of Index of Public Integrity’s sub-components1. Previous work has showed these to be powerful determinants of control of corruption: judicial independence, freedom of the press, administrative burden, trade openness, as well as the proxies of budget transparency and e-citizenship are considered. Their de- terminants power proves weaker across time than across countries, as the first sections of this paper shows. Based on their trends, we identify several leaders and backsliders. However, more often than not the progress of countries on some items is offset by regress on others. This makes it difficult to understand country trends based only on quantitative measures. We therefore combine this appro- ach with other elements to produce a pilot forecast:

1. Ten years trends of determinants of corruption/the public integrity framework (components of the Index for Public Integrity, IPI), or their related proxies, when not available.

2. The IPI evolution since 2015

3. Qualitative elements, such as recent windows of opportunity (such as elections won with an anticorruption mandate) and implementation gaps (distance between formal treaties/conventions signed and their implementation)

4. The potential critical mass demanding good governance and its digital empowerment at the present moment (e-citizens), as well as other proxies or good governance demand.

This forecast thus blends numerical and qualitative indicators. N=124 countries for which data was available.

Shifting Anti-Corruption Global Legal Policy: The Case for International Human Rights Law

Corruption is known to undermine democracy, erode the rule of law and hinder human development, inter alia, through the violation of human rights. Yet, recognition of these links has not manged to permeate the international anti-corruption toolkit. Efforts to curb corruption have culminated with the enactment of a few international treaties, amongst which the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) stands out as the only norm with true global reach. Despite its significant membership, UNCAC has often been described as ‘toothless’ for its faulty implementation worldwide. The model it embraces, primarily based on criminal liability, has not been successful in combatting corruption precisely where it is most aggressive and ingrained. This paper sets out to explore whether a shift in global legal policy from a model anchored in criminal law to another based on international human rights law would be desirable for the anti-corruption agenda of highly corrupt countries. Employing a legal external normative approach and a qualitative review of selected reports, our analysis suggests that an anti-corruption framework based on criminal law is ill-suited for the reality of countries where the rule of law is weak or inexistent. It also indicates that international human rights law provides an adequate theoretical basis for the establishment of a direct link between individuals who are most affected by the consequences of corruption and the international legal order. It further sheds light on how a rights-based approach could potentially address the gaps left by the criminal law model. Finally, it engages in an argumentative effort to conceive an individual claims mechanism rooted on the recognition of an emerging (human) right to freedom from corruption in customary international law. Our main contribution to the literature lies in providing a structured argument for how criminal law could never be adequate to satisfactorily address corruption in highly corrupt countries in the first place, and in exploring the feasibility and desirability of a framework underpinned by international human rights law.

Optimizing anticorruption: the long arm of the law vs.the invisible hand of the market?

Over the past three decades, the study of corruption across several disciplines has greatly increased. Despite the progress on knowledge, anti-corruption scholars and practitioners deplore the lack of progress in the fight against corruption as measured by rankings such as the Corruption Perception Index (CPI). Mungiu-Pippidi (2015), for example, identifies a maximum of ten countries that have managed to reduce corruption significantly in the past 20 years. This leads to the question on whether there is a gap between corruption theory and practice, and if so, what can explain it? This chapter reviews the relevant literature to argue that what looks like a possible disconnect between theory and practice is the product of lack of conceptual clarity and insufficient cross-pollination between different strands of academic literature. It considers two of the main streams of literature, that in favor of less government intervention with anti-corruption policies based on incentive manipulation rather than repression and that in favor of government intervention and legal deterrence. It thus attempts to bring some clarity to the debate around the effectiveness of market and legal solutions for anti-corruption by combining the latest findings and lessons learned from the anti-corruption literature with the main theories of change originated from the economic literature. In addition to the theoretical discussion, I run a few tests of the theories I discuss to substantiate my argument.

Whistleblower Protection Legislation and Corruption

Following the “Snowden effect” and more recent whistleblower scandals, such as the Panama Papers, Luxleaks, Cambridge Analytica or the Danish Tax Fraud, the number of whistleblowing cases and laws for the protection of whistleblowers in Europe and around the world has significantly increased as a tool to combat corruption, fraud and organizational wrongdoings. This paper provides a theory-based and empirical analysis of the theory of change behind whistleblower protection legislation as an anti-corruption policy tool. By introducing a new indicator developed in collaboration with ERCAS and based on international best practices on whistleblower laws – the Whistleblower Index (WI) – the report shows that there is only a slightly upward interaction between stronger whistleblower laws, as of the WI, and slightly higher levels of WGI’s Control of Corruption. It also did not find a statistically significant change in WGI’s Control of corruption after the introduction of a specific whistleblower protection law. Based on the empirical analysis carried out for this study, whistleblower protection legislation only seems to be effective in deterring corruption and organizational wrongdoings in a governance system based on ethical  universalism and absence of captive media.

The Impact of EU Conditionality on Corruption Control and Governance in Bosnia and Herzegovina

This paper seeks to evaluate the impact of EU policy and funds aimed at improving governance and controlling corruption in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It examines the interrelation between EU conditionality as expressed in different policy documents and the financial assistance provided by the EU. The focus is on the period 2007-13. It tracks the way in which the EU pursues democratic conditionality in BiH, and examines cases that are deemed successes as well as those deemed failures. It also considers how conditionality relating to the provision of EU funds is affected. It evaluates conditionality in the light of BiH’s anti-corruption performance during this period. The paper draws conclusions as to the effectiveness of EU policy and financial assistance in the area of anti-corruption, with a view to informing the ongoing policy debate on how to strengthen EU leverage in improving anti-corruption efforts in aspiring member-states, particularly in a post-conflict context.