Three Valuable Additions to the Anticorruption Literature

GAB | The Global Anticorruption Blog

March was a great month for the anticorruption community: two books and one report appeared that, in contrast to much that is published on corruption and related topics, are useful, insightful, and worthy of a careful read.

1) There is now no better introduction to the field of corruption studies than Ray Fisman and Miriam Golden’s Corruption: What Everyone Needs to Know, published in late March by Oxford University Press in an affordable paperback edition.  In nine readable chapters the authors summarize the main issues – what corruption is, why it is so harmful, the challenge of measurement, the forces behind it, and most importantly what can be done to reduce it.  The only group of readers that the book will disappoint is opportunistic politicians looking for quick and easy fixes.  There are, the authors remind readers at several points, “no easy fixes for a problem that been…

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Proxy Preaching: The UK Investigates Foreign Funding of Mosques

On January 16th, nearly two months after Islamic terrorists of European citizenship killed 130 people in the city of Paris, British Prime Minister David Cameron authorized an investigation into the funding of extremist groups within the United Kingdom. According to the Guardian, the Liberal Democrats instigated the inquiry, promising in exchange to support airstrikes against ISIS targets in Syria. Although it began merely as an internal investigation, concerns regarding foreign influences on European Muslims resonate with the entire European continent.

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If Voters Hate Corruption, Why Do Elected Politicians Resist Anticorruption Reform? Lessons from South Dakota

Local remarks global application …

GAB | The Global Anticorruption Blog

If U.S. voters dislike corruption so much, why don’t U.S. politicians see anticorruption as a winning issue—or at the very least feel more pressure to act aggressively against the corruption that voters claim to hate? This question, which has been explored on this blog before, is interesting to consider in the context of recent developments in South Dakota. South Dakota is considered to be one of the most corrupt states in the U.S., and in recent years has suffered through several major public corruption scandals, including massive misappropriations after the state privatized its EB-5 visa program, and the theft of over a million dollars earmarked for scholastic grants for the state’s American Indian population. In the past, although some Democratic state representatives had introduced bills to crack down on corruption, these measures failed in largely party-line votes in South Dakota’s Republican-dominated state legislature. Yet South Dakota, like many U.S…

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Reforming FIFA: Why Recent Reforms Provide Reason for Hope

GAB | The Global Anticorruption Blog

Over a year has passed since Gianni Infantino was elected President of FIFA. When elected, Infantino promised to reform the organization and win back the trust of the international football community following the numerous incidents of corruption that preceded his tenure as President (see here and here). Corruption not only existed at the executive level of FIFA, but also permeated down to the playing field, where incidents of match fixing and referee bribery were widespread. On the day he was elected, Infantino remarked, “FIFA has gone through sad times, moments of crisis, but those times are over. We need to implement the reform and implement good governance and transparency.”

Yet despite some reforms in the past year, a recent Transparency International report–which surveyed 25,000 football fans from over 50 countries—showed that the public still lacks confidence in the organization, with 97% of fans still worried about corruption, especially…

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Further Thoughts on Government Size and Corruption: Why Do Patterns Across U.S. States Look So Different from Patterns Across Countries?

GAB | The Global Anticorruption Blog

In a couple of posts (here and here) last fall, I discussed the relationship between government size (usually measured by the ratio of government expenditures to GDP, or occasionally by public sector employment rates) and corruption. The main takeaway from the cross-country data is that, in apparent contradiction to the “big government causes corruption” hypothesis, government size is, if anything, negatively correlated with perceived corruption, as measured by the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) or similar sources. While that evidence does not decisively refute the claim that larger governments are more prone to corruption—the relevant studies have important limitations, and it’s at least possible that the result is due to reverse causation—it certainly seems to suggest that, when it comes to fighting corruption, too-small governments are probably a more significant problem than too-large governments.

Most of the research on the relationship between government size and corruption relies on international…

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