Backsliding on Good Governance: the Venezuelan case

During the last ten years, Venezuela has experienced a stark regression on its road to good governance, performing negatively in most indicators. Such backsliding can be attributed to the poor governance the country has undergone during its current administration, as well as due to falling oil prices worldwide which has severely damaged the country’s single-commodity-centered economy. A number of corrupt and anti‐democratic processes have also led to this negative transition, that instead of pushing forward the once regional leader, has only pushed it backward. Across this essay, we aim to analyze, through a historical summary of the past twenty years using a process-tracing methodology, the main events in Venezuela that have led to the deterioration of the country’s good governance indicators.

Transition to bad governance in Botswana

The celebratory rhetoric associated with Botswana is that of an “African miracle”, highlighting its exceptionality in being able to transition towards a democratic state after it obtained independence from colonial power in 1966. Against all odds, it was able to develop a functioning multi-party democracy with relatively free and fair elections, rule of law, and universal franchise. Several studies underline the structural and actionable causes that allowed democratic principles to
rapidly spread: maintenance of pre-colonial political institutions, limited colonial exploitation by the British, an endowment in natural resources, effective economic management, and enlightened leadership. However, the most senior democracy in the African continent is undergoing a period of uncertainty and slowdown. An analysis of the indicators of good governance reveals how Botswana is not proceeding towards the successful path on which it embarked more than four decades ago, rather it is downgrading in several components over the 2008-2018 period.

The Anticorruption Report Vol. 4: Beyond the Panama Papers

The final title in the series The Anticorruption Report covers the most important findings of the five-year-long EU-sponsored ANTICORRP project on corruption and organized crime. How prone to corruption are EU funds? Who wins and who loses the anticorruption fight? And can we have better measurements than people’s perceptions to indicate if corruption changes? This issue introduces a new index of public integrity and a variety of other tools created in the project.

The Anticorruption Report Vol. 4: Beyond the Panama Papers looks at the performance of EU Good Governance Promotion in different countries in the European neighbourhood. Case studies focussing on Spain, Slovakia and Romania are considering the impact of EU structural funds and good governance promotion within the Union. Further chapters looking at Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia and Tanzania are analysing EU democracy and good governance support in third countries. The report, edited by Alina Mungiu-Pippidi and Jana Warkotsch offers a comprehensive and overarching look at the successes and pitfalls of the EU’s efforts to democracy promotion and introduces new ways to assess the state of good governance in different countries around the world.

Questions and Answers on Romania’s Anti-Corruption Implosion – Updated

In this brief report, Alina Mungiu-Pippidi answers key questions on the recent events in Romania regarding the passing of Ordinance 13/2017. This report covers questions on the ordinance itself, the protests which were triggered by it and the fight against corruption in Romania. The report was updated on 13 February 2017.

The EU Good Governance Approach in Ghana: the growing focus on anti‐corruption measures

Ghana is a strategic country for the European Union’s promotion of peace and good governance in West Africa. However, recent economic challenges have exposed public finance management deficiencies and a crisis of confidence in the ability of the government to deal with increasing deficits; unemployment; and a dramatic energy crisis. Corruption practices are seen as a key factor impeding on the development of the country with recent scandals exposed in the media raising the awareness of the public. With the support of international partners, the government launched its own anti-corruption framework in July 2014, the National Anti-Corruption Action Plan (NACAP), while the EU in Ghana started the Ghana Anti-Corruption, Rule of Law and Accountability (Ghana-ARAP) Programme in January 2016. This report examines how the Ghana-EU Partnership is structured, the state of governance in Ghana, and how the EU has or has not been inducing change in governance practices to fight corruption. The study includes a review of the different aid modalities and recommendations for positive change in Ghana, in terms of both development assistance and anti-corruption strategies.

Improving governance in Bulgaria: Evaluating the Impact of EU Conditionality through Policy and Financial Assistance

The paper examines the impact on Bulgaria’s anti-corruption performance of the interrelation between EU policy conditionality and EU financial assistance, with a focus on post-accession developments. Although the EU never formally linked EU assistance to progress on anti-corruption, the disbursement of funds has tended to peak around critical deadlines for accession progress, e.g. the signing of the accession treaty in 2005, and the expiration of the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism’s (CVM) safeguard clauses in 2010. Both years also marked the lowest levels of corruption experienced by Bulgaria’s citizens. This suggests that the combined effect of EU anti- corruption conditionality and development assistance on governance in Bulgaria was positive – but temporary.

Moreover, the 2015 CVM monitoring report suggests that, eight years after EU accession, Bulgaria still faces three key governance challenges – combatting high-level corruption, building an institutional approach to anti-corruption, and judicial independence. In 2014, public experience of corruption reached its highest level since the first comparable research in 1998. The lack of anti-corruption conditionality or credible enforcement mechanisms since 2010 has seen Bulgaria backslide in the fight against corruption. The current EU approach and development assistance for anti- corruption reforms have been insufficient to put Bulgaria on a virtuous circle path to open access order (or a good governance model), and has not been able to compensate for the lack of domestic political commitment to anticorruption reform. The paper’s findings suggest that the EU and Bulgarian anti-corruption stakeholders need to find new strategies for bringing about lasting governance change.

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.

EU Aid and the Quality of Governance

Using a panel dataset on 103 developing countries, this paper empirically analyzes the impact of the European aid flows on quality of governance in aid recipient countries. The analysis employs aggregated Official Development Data as well as disaggregated project level data. The results show that while bilateral aid from the largest European donors does not show any impact, multilateral financial assistance from the EU Institutions leads to an improvement in governance indicators. These findings thus suggest that European development assistance can help to promote good governance if aid is allocated at the EU supranational level rather than at the national level of the member states.

Natural Resource Revenues, Corruption and Expropriation

This paper develops a formal model that looks at the mutually endogenous determination of foreign direct investments in natural resource-rich countries, the decision of host governments to expropriate these investments, and the level of corruption. Higher resource production makes expropriation more attractive from the perspective of national governments. A low expropriation risk is in turn an important determinant of international investments and is therefore associated with high levels of production. Moreover, resource production leads to high levels of corruption. Theoretical results are confirmed by estimations of a simultaneous equation model for 50 resource-rich countries in which the authors endogenize expropriation risk, corruption, and resource production.

The State of State Capacity: a review of concepts, evidence and measures

What is state capacity and how does it affect development? The concept of state capacity acquired centrality during the late seventies and eighties, sponsored by a rather compact set of scholarly works. It later permeated through several disciplines and has now earned a place within the many governance dimensions affecting economic performance. The present article aims to provide a historical account of the evolution and usage of the state capacity concept, along with its various operationalizations. It examines in particular: a) the growing distance in the usage of the concept by different disciplinary and thematic fields; b) the process of `branching out’ of the concept from restricted to more multidimensional definitions; c) the problems with construct validity and concept stretching, and d) the generalized lack of clarity that exists regarding the institutional sources of state capacity.

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 that may use its political power to expropriate productive assets. The expropriation risk lowers the incentive to provide specific capital in an integrated firm and distorts the decision between joint ventures and integrated production. We determine the equilibrium risk of expropriation in this framework and the resulting pattern of international production. We also analyze as to how globalization, which is reflected in a decline in investment costs, influences institutional quality.

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 a single liberalization reform. Again, we find evidence for the beneficial impact of financial liberalization with the exception of corruption. We additionally show that the benign consequences of financial opening for the institutional development are even larger if financial liberalization is supported by simultaneous political liberalization, while financial deregulation in former socialist countries tends to worsen institutional quality.

The Anticorruption Report. Volume 1: Controlling Corruption in Europe

The first volume of the Anticorruption Report series provides a comprehensive analysis of causes and consequences of corruption in three European regions, presenting corruption risks for several European countries and concrete policy recommendations on how to effectively address those risks.

Print and e-book version of the report can be purchased here.

Global comparative trend analysis report

Can governance be changed by human agency? The answer to this central policy question has been taken for granted in the last twenty years as good governance promotion began to feature as a top priority of every international donor organization. Despite this fact, the answer is not as simple. In this introductory study the answer is divided in two parts. The first question pertains to whether governance—as defined in the framework of this project as a set of institutions determining who gets what in a given society—evolves at all, other than incrementally, in the absence of radical intervening factors (e.g., war, military occupation or natural disaster). The second part questions, where such natural evolution can be observed with some certainty, is it intentional human agency which brings the change about. The objective of this trend analysis report is to answer the first part of the question and identify cases of evolution.

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 this effect by increasing the rate of expropriation. Since de facto political power is linked to economic resources, financial integration also has long run consequences for the distribution of power and for the rise of an entrepreneurial class.

Beyond Perception: Has Romania’s Governance Improved since 2004?

Romania and Bulgaria encounter today problems in joining the visa-free Schengen area. The main one in the public eye is corruption. Both countries pledged to improve their rule of law when signing their accession treaties in 2005, yet little progress is perceived by observers or captured with governance measurements relying on perception, such as CPI and World Bank Governance indicators. This paper explores real policy, with fact-based indicators, to trace progress in the area – or lack of it – since 2004 to the present.

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.