A new episode of KickBack: The Global Anticorruption Podcast is now available. In this episode, I interview Monika Bauhr, Associate Professor of Political Science and former head of the Quality of Government Institute at the University of Gothenburg. During our conversation, Professor Bauhr discusses her research work in three key areas: (1) the impact of pro-transparency reforms (particularly the adoption of freedom of information laws) on corruption; (2) the disaggregation of the broad category “corruption” into different types of corruption (such as “need” corruption versus “greed” corruption); and (3) the relationship between gender and corruption, in particular what factors might account for the apparent correlation between greater representation of women in elected office (or the business or political elite more generally) and lower (perceived) corruption levels.
You can find this episode, along with links to previous podcast episodes, at the following locations:
- The Interdisciplinary Corruption Research Network (ICRN) website
KickBack is a collaborative effort between GAB and the ICRN. If you like it, please subscribe/follow, and tell all your friends! And if you have suggestions for voices you’d like to hear on the podcast, just send me a message and let me know.
It seems that for a correct and proper understanding of the essence of corruption in practice, substantive discussion and sharing of knowledge by other authors (than GAB and ICRN) are also important.
Considerations and analyzes bringing closer view to understanding the difference between crime and legal corruption:
“Internal Security Review” nr 21/2019.
Thanks Waldemar for sharing this interesting study!
Thank you Matthew and Monika for this great conversation about the effects of transparency and the role of women representatives in reducing corruption. I found your discussion of risk aversion especially interesting when talking about women’s behavior in politics regarding actually engaging in or taking on corruption. There is the common view that women tend to be more risk averse and therefore less likely to engage in corruption (a crime) but you rightfully mentioned that there is perhaps more to the story. For example, many women fight corruption in their newly elected positions, but this itself is a particularly risky move that often jeopardizes their ability to remain in power. Additionally, there is the pervasive idea and pressure in many societies that women are caregivers and should therefore focus on ways to improve areas like health care and education. In many cases women become champions for combatting corruption in these sectors. However, you discussed the idea of women being under-networked and therefore unable to take part in traditional, often male-dominated patronage networks that can foster corruption. I agree that it will be interesting to see if when women become more represented in positions of government in the long-term if this will change their propensity to engage in corruption because of their new positions of power. I am looking forward to learning more about the findings of your three-year project on gender and corruption, hoping to, as you said get more specific data to better explain consistent findings that have until now been more associative rather than causal. I had a particular question following your claim that transparency initiatives in some contexts, like those where corruption is endemic, can actually lead to more fatigue and a feeling of hopelessness. This is because individuals feel overwhelmed by trying to address multifaceted corruption in places where they feel like no one is taking action or marked by systems that are not equipped to deal with the different types of corruption present in society. My background is working on governance and corruption in the Western Balkans where this phenomena has played out in some cases. Citizens routinely say that they know that corruption is happening but rather want more time and resources devoted to prosecution and consequences for those engaged in mainly, grand scale corruption. I personally believe in the power of transparency initiatives and gathering data to back up claims of corruption and build cases but understand this fatigue with data collection and seemingly no follow-through or ability to use that data for concrete solutions. I wonder if in your experience whether there have been transparency initiatives that have been more well-received by publics that are experiencing endemic corruption, perhaps initiatives that focus on a particular area like assets of leaders, or databases that do innovative storytelling and better show the effects of corrupt behavior on the everyday public. For example, have satirical television shows that expose corruption (like in Albania) been a good way to engage and activate publics? Thanks for the great insight into your areas of research and thoughts about future areas of study for professionals starting out in this field. I also look forward to reading the quality of government handbook when it comes out.
Thank you for your excellent comments and ideas and for engaging with my work! I very much believe in the importance of transparency as well. There is considerable empirical support for the beneficial effects of increased transparency on public demand for accountability and government performance ( from the US, India, Uganda, Brazil, Italy, Spain, see also here), lending support to the contention that access to information may reduce government corruption. In particular, transparency may allow citizens to detect corruption, which even in autocracies may introduce the risk that public discontent translates into coordinated uprising and protests (see here).Some studies also focus more directly on the effects of information and transparency on corruption in public service delivery in particular sectors. For an overview of these studies, see here, and also these studies on Uganda, Vietnam, Kenya, Benin and Indonesia. However, evidence is indeed mixed as shown by the recent metaketa initiative. In some cases, and in particular when corruption reaches more systemic levels, transparency may however, lead to resignation. We show this using cross country comparative data here, but there is also evidence for this from Mexico here
In case you are interested and still in the Boston area, I will speak about women representation and corruption at the Center for European studies this Friday https://ces.fas.harvard.edu/events/2019/12/new-research-on-europe-seminar-3’
Thank you Prof Bauhr and Prof Stephenson for this podcast. Like the comment above, the bit that stuck with me as well, was the conversation around the impact transparency has on corruption. The claim of ‘resignation’ was interesting and I will be adding the papers from metaketa to my reading list.