T09P14 - Corruption as a Public Problem: Do Policymakers Need a New Perspective?

Topic : Governance, Policy networks and Multi-level Governance

Panel Chair : Steven Gawthorpe - steven.gawthorpe@fsv.cuni.cz

Panel Second Chair : sofia wickberg - sofia.wickberg@sciencespo.fr

Panel Third Chair : Giulia Mugellini - mugelg@usi.ch

Objectives and Scientific Relevance of the panel

Corrupt practices are by no means a new phenomenon, in the past three decades however, corruption has been reframed and thus emerged as a ‘policy problem’; a deviance from good governance standards.  This process of (re)politicisation of corruption goes parallel to the seminal work led mainly by Rose-Ackerman and Klitgaard presenting corruption as a principal-agent dilemma. Klitgaard’s 1988 corruption formula C=M+D-A (corruption equals monopoly plus discretion minus accountability) has indeed been central to anti-corruption efforts with a predominant focus on cost-benefits analyses, competition most notable monitoring and control mechanisms in the form of transparency programs (Persson, Rothstein and Teorell, 2013). The road to hell is however paved with good intentions, and the ubiquitous usage of ’best practices’ in anti-corruption programs overlooks the premise that problems are ambiguous, problem criterion are volatile change and thus policy strategies might be ineffective or have even reverse effects. Corruption as a public problem is rife with standardization of problem definitions leading to error of the third type: we are attempting to solve the wrong problem.

This panel seeks to aid policymakers to craft more effective interventions and assistance programs that encourage and support good governance. We aim to harmonize varying conceptualizations to provide policymakers with new perspectives, data enrichment, and grounded recommendations directly applicable to improving anti-corruption assistance and intervention strategies. Given the challenge of corruption, this panel will be of value across the international policy community.

Call for papers

Facing the relative failure of many anti-corruption policies, scholars from various disciplines are reconsidering the theoretical assumptions behind the occurrence and persistence of corruption (see Persson, Rothstein and Teorell, 2013; Marquette and Peiffer, 2014; Torsello, 2016). We invite papers emphasizing contemporary discourses and narratives of corruption with increased attention towards policy-relevant aspects of good governance, actor identification, and the ensuing power struggles contributing to the convergence or divergence of anti-corruption policies. We invite theoretical and empirical contributions that facilitate discussions on diverging theoretical explanations, the construction of corruption as a policy problem, issue framing and re-framing and policy narratives through good governance discourse.

Export PDF