Anticorruption Bibliography–October 2016 Update

An updated version of my anticorruption bibliography is available from my faculty webpage. A direct link to the pdf of the full bibliography is here, and a list of the new sources added in this update is here.

A quick note: With the assistance of the library and my administrative assistant, I’m in the process of shifting the bibliography from a simple text document to a citation-management database. We’re still working out the kinks, and so you may notice a few weird or different things about the formatting. We’re hoping to get this worked out by the next update. We’re also hoping to eventually put the bibliography in a form where it will be searchable and sortable by field, instead of just one long pdf. So, as the standard line goes, “please pardon our appearance while we’re remodeling.”

As always, I welcome suggestions for other sources that are not yet included, including any papers GAB readers have written.

3 Things To Do About Corruption Rather Than Gripe

Most of what passes for commentary or learned analysis about corruption in the press, on social media, or elsewhere does little more than say (again and again and again) that corruption is a pressing problem and that it should be addressed.  However valuable such calls to action might have been in the early years of the anticorruption movement, as Matthew suggested some time ago (almost two years ago to be exact), the principle of diminishing returns has long since set in.  I have serious doubts that another newspaper op-ed, “thought piece,” or (even) blog post will prompt one more policymaker or citizen to take up the anticorruption cause. If they have not by now, they simply aren’t going to.

Rather than wasting energy and time and sending more innocent trees to their death in the hopes of enlisting the remaining holdouts to the cause, here are three projects activists can tackle that will make a difference in the fight to curb corruption. Continue reading

Guest Post: Does International Law Require an International Double Jeopardy Bar?

GAB is pleased to welcome back Frederick Davis, a lawyer in the Paris office of Debovoise & Plimpton, who contributes the following guest post:

Most countries prohibit multiple prosecutions for the same acts or offenses. This is known in the United States as the prohibition against “double jeopardy”; in Europe and elsewhere the principle is known as ne bis in idem. But what happens if a person or company is pursued in more than one country? This question is particularly relevant to the fight against foreign bribery, where the same act will often offend the criminal laws of multiple countries. The OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions, adopted in 1997, clearly anticipated the possibility of multi-state prosecutions, but provided in Article 4.3 only that the relevant authorities should “consult with a view to determining the most appropriate jurisdiction for prosecution,” a provision that has been consistently interpreted as precatory, not providing an individual right against double prosecution.

The law in the United States provides no protection against duplicate prosecution by a different sovereign. The situation is more complex in Europe. In some countries, such as France, domestic legislation limits a prosecutor’s power to pursue a person or entity already the object of a prosecution in another country, but only if the exercise of French jurisdiction is “extraterritorial” (that is, where no constitutive act of the alleged crime took place on French territory, but the prosecution based on some other factor, such as the French nationality of the accused or the victim).  Within Europe, a series of overlapping treaties—Protocol Number 7 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (CPHRFF), adopted in 1984 by the Council of Europe and signed by most but not all of its members; Article 54 of the Convention to Implement the Schengen Agreement (CISA), adopted in 1990; and Article 50 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (CFR) adopted in 2009—all contain ne bis in idem provisions, though they are not identical. (The CISA provision, for example, protects against re-prosecution based on the same “acts,” while the CFR and CPHRFF protect against multiple prosecutions for the same “offense.”)  The CISA provision has been expansively interpreted by the European Court of Justice, which has noted that CISA mandates a “mutual trust” in the criminal justice systems of other signatory countries, and respect for their decisions “even when the outcome would be different if [the second country’s] own national law were applied.”

Lurking behind these and other developments in Europe is the possibility that protection against multiple prosecutions may one day be viewed as right, grounded in international treaty obligations, that is cognizable under domestic constitutions. No court has yet so ruled, but there are sufficient intimations of such a possibility in some French decisions, for example, that the issue is frequently raised there. Continue reading

Why Did the U.S. Fail to Fight Corruption in Afghanistan Effectively?

The war in Afghanistan is already the longest conflict in United States history. Over the past fifteen years, the U.S. government has poured over $100 billion into the reconstruction effort—more than the Marshall Plan. In spite of this massive public investment, Afghanistan’s government is weak, its economy is moribund, and the Taliban remains an active threat in the region. Contributing to all of those problems is persistent, systemic corruption. This problem was highlighted recently by a report from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), which  served as a harsh reminder not only that corruption in Afghanistan remains is daunting problem despite years of the reconstruction effort, but also that the U.S. has failed to address the problem, and has sometimes made it even worse. According to the SIGAR report, the U.S. failed to grasp the importance of combating corruption as part of a broader effort to improve security and stability, with policymakers and military leaders instead viewing anticorruption as a competing goal that had to be traded off against the seemingly more pressing security goals.

The SIGAR report is valuable in many ways, and its emphasis on viewing anticorruption and security as complementary rather than competing goals is welcome. (This corruption-insecurity link, and its relative neglect, have been emphasized by many other outside critics as well, most recently and prominently Sarah Chayes, who has argued that when government breaks down under the weight of corruption, people in those countries are pushed towards radicalization.) But the SIGAR report’s suggestion that the U.S. failed to adequately confront corruption in Afghanistan because leaders failed (until recently) to grasp this complementarity is not quite right.  Continue reading

Guest Post: Please, Criticize Me! (Why Anticorruption Practitioners Should Scrutinize and Challenge Research Methodology)

GAB is pleased to welcome back Roger Henke, Chairman of the Board of the Southeast Asia Development Program (SADP), who contributes the following guest post:

In a previous post, I described a survey used to estimate the incidence of fraud and associated problems within the Cambodian NGO sector. The response to the results of that survey have so far been somewhat disheartening—not so much because the research has had little influence on action (the fate of most such research), but rather because those who have been told about the study’s results have all taken the results for granted, questioning neither their meaningfulness nor how they were generated. Such at-face-value uptake is, paradoxically, a huge risk to the longer-term public acceptance of the evidence produced by social-scientific research.  I am relieved that methodological considerations (issues of publication bias, replicability, p-hacking, and others) are finally getting some traction within the social science community, but it is evident that the decades-long neglect of these problems dovetails with a public opinion climate that doubts and disparages social science expertise.

Lack of attention to the methodological underpinnings of “interesting” conclusions is hardly a remarkable fate for corruption research results, nor is it specific to corruption research.  But the anticorruption community has a lot to lose by distrust in research, and thus a lot to win by ensuring that the findings it uses to build its cases upon pass basic quality checks. For the remainder of this post I’ll examine some basic questions that the Cambodia NGO corruption survey’s results should have triggered before being accepted as credible and meaningful: Continue reading

Another Essential Web Site for Anticorruption Professionals

Last month I urged those whose investigate or prosecute corruption cases for a living to peruse and bookmark Guide to Combating Corruption & Fraud in Development Projects, an invaluable web page developed by the International Anticorruption Resource Center.  Today I recommend anticorruption professionals do the same for CAMPUS, an e-learning site developed by the Basel Institute’s International Centre for Asset Recovery.

CAMPUS currently contains four courses with more promised.  The four now available teach the user to: 1) use Excel to analyze financial records, 2) devise graphics to visualize cases and money flows, 3) show an individual is living beyond his or her means, and 4) analyze suspicious transaction reports.  Even those who are computer-challenged will find the courses easy to navigate. I have completed two and am working my way through the other two and have never had a better experience with an online course.  The substance of each is first-rate, and as with the Anticorruption Resource Center’s Guide, even veteran investigators and prosecutors will benefit from taking the courses.  Perhaps best of all, unlike many online courses computerization enhances rather than detracts from the learning experience. Take the course on using Excel to analyze financial records. Continue reading

TI’s “Declaration Against Corruption” — A Plug and a Question

Last week, I got an email alert from Transparency International asking me to sign (and publicize) TI’s new “Declaration Against Corruption.” The declaration is short and sweet:

I will not pay bribes
I will not seek bribes
I will work with others to campaign against corruption
I will speak out against corruption and report on abuse
I will only support candidates for public office who say no to corruption and demonstrate transparency, integrity and accountability

On reading the declaration, I had two thoughts. The first thought was, “Yes, of course I agree with all that, I’m happy to add my name to the list” (which I did). I’m also happy to use this blog post in part to help publicize the declaration in case some of you out there haven’t already heard about this and would like to sign on as well.

My second thought, though, was along the lines of “What’s the point?”

I ask that question with all due respect to TI. I want to pose this as a substantive, serious question about anticorruption campaign strategy: What is a “Declaration Against Corruption” like this supposed to accomplish? It certainly doesn’t do any harm, but what good do TI and other anticorruption campaigners think will come of this?

I have a few hypotheses about why one might think that calling on as many people as possible to sign onto a Declaration Against Corruption might be a useful and meaningful (as opposed to symbolic but ultimately trivial) element of an anticorruption campaign: Continue reading