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Anti-Corruption Policies Revisited. Global Trends and European Responses to the Challenge of Corruption

Research Questions

The main research questions of the ANTICORRP consortium are:
- What are the causes of corruption? What accounts for low levels of corruption?
- How does corruption impact societies?
- How do corruption levels differ between regions? What accounts for these differences?
- What impact does the behaviour of governmental and non-state actors have on the fight against corruption?

Contribution to International Research

While there is increasing awareness of corruption, as well as an interest in curtailing it, there has been no systematic research on questions relating to the transition of particularistic societies towards those characterised by ethical universalism. The main aim of ANTICORRP is therefore to align different concepts and insights through interdisciplinary research. Existing research gaps shall be addressed by a comparison of EU countries’ trajectories with neighbouring states and a global sample of countries. In this framework, the GIGA project comparatively analyses country cases in Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East and studies patterns and trends of corruption within each of the four regions.

Research Design and Methods

In a first step governance regimes worldwide were diagnosed, using well known indicators of good governance and corruption. Based on this large-N quantitative study, countries were identified that were successful in reducing corruption and the respective countries´ trajectories were analysed in more detail. Based on these case studies, the most effective countries in fighting corruption were selected for more in-depth process tracing. Being situated in different world regions, their comparison aided in discovering and explaining intra- and inter-regional variation to gain a better understanding of why various societies developed different equilibria of political accountability and control of corruption. In a second step that has started in the fall of 2014, four cases situated in Africa and North Africa were selected to explore the intersection between EU assistance and development. The specific focus is on the effectiveness of EU aid in promoting good governance and the fight against corruption.

Preliminary Findings

Preliminary findings from the first work package indicate that successful control of corruption results from a specific interplay of material and power opportunities as well as legal and normative constraints. The following countries were identified as regional achievers: Botswana, Chile, Costa Rica, Qatar, Rwanda, South Korea, Taiwan and Uruguay, which were then subject to in-depth case studies studying their historical development. For the second work package Ghana, Tanzania, Egypt and Tunisia were chosen due to the high volume of aid each country receives from the EU. The results of the four case studies show that there is no linear relationship between aid and the development of governance regimes conducive to fighting corruption. But they also show the limits of external actors like the EU in promoting change in governance regimes in the face of numerous constraints, such as adverse domestic conditions within partner countries, limited resources, and competing foreign policy imperatives.

Overall, ANTICORRP identified global trends concerning corruption and provided research on what anti-corruption policies were successful and in which context. It also generated large-scale survey data on the quality of government in all EU member states, and funded research on corruption experiences across the world.