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EuropeAid What is Corruption? Dr Heather Marquette, University of Birmingham European Commission Training Seminar: EC Support to Governance in Partner.

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Presentation on theme: "EuropeAid What is Corruption? Dr Heather Marquette, University of Birmingham European Commission Training Seminar: EC Support to Governance in Partner."— Presentation transcript:

1 EuropeAid What is Corruption? Dr Heather Marquette, University of Birmingham European Commission Training Seminar: EC Support to Governance in Partner Countries (Africa focus) 4-8 July 2011

2 EuropeAid o Introduction o Definitions o Forms and typologies o Causes and consequences o Challenges in fighting corruption What is corruption?

3 EuropeAid Why worry about corruption? Cost of Corruption: Decreases GDP by 1%/yr (UN) Bribery alone = $1 trillion/yr (World Bank) 3-5% world GDP (World Bank and IMF) Corruption: o wastes development resources o major impediment to development (MDGs) o in the Age of Austerity less tolerated by donors and their publics?

4 EuropeAid Definitions of corruption o Defining corruption is complex because of absence of a fixed disciplinary allegiance (Williams, 1999) o Definitions vary according to approaches, aims and needs of analysts/policymakers o How corruption is defined determines how it is viewed, the policy approaches adopted and the legitimacy of policies o Recognizing this complexity, the EC has acknowledged several approaches to defining corruption Legal Socio-economic Anthropological

5 EuropeAid Legal approaches to defining corruption o In very basic terms, if it is illegal, it is corruption; if it is legal, it is not o International conventions provide harmonised definitions of corruption-related offences facilitating judicial cooperation between partner countries o National legal definitions for corruption-related offences vary, due to different legal traditions and social norms o Critiques? The powerful set the law Ignores offenses that may be legal but which society defines as corrupt Facilitates a tick box approach to anti-corruption; e.g., is there a law against X? Tick! De jure may not mean de facto Cross-national comparisons difficult

6 EuropeAid Socio-economic approaches to defining corruption Defines corruption as the result of individual rational decisions: e.g. o The abuse of public office for private gains (World Bank) o The misuse of entrusted power for private gain (TI) Has been famously expressed as the formula C = M+D-A (Klitgaard 1988) Addresses the motivation for corrupt acts (e.g. private gain) and the nature of power (formal/informal or public/private) Critiques? o Focusing on individuals motivation divorces him/her from their community o Assumes a shared understanding of public office o Over-simplifies an inherently complex phenomenon o May explain corruption but very poor at explaining integrity

7 EuropeAid Anthropological approaches to defining corruption Concerned with the motivations, organisation of power, as well as contexts where corrupt acts take place Considers corruption as both individual and collective phenomena The anthropological approach takes into account: o Norms, rules, customs, and perception of corruption o The importance of morality and trust issues o Forms and organisation of powers Critiques? o Too academic; difficult to translate into policy o Ignores international norms; too context-specific o May be used to justify an anything goes approach (Nb: Will be covered in more depth in the next session. Probably the least understood/known of all approaches, with a great deal of potential to help improve anti-corruption policy-making…despite critiques!)

8 EuropeAid Corruption: An EU Definition Corruption : the abuse of power for private gain (EU, 2003) Broadest attempt to define the phenomenon, encompassing both the public and private sector The EU acknowledges corruptions complexity and the inadequacy of a single definition

9 EuropeAid Typologies of corruption Bureaucratic versus Political Petty v Grand Need v Greed Active v Passive Incidental v Systemic Quiet Corruption

10 EuropeAid Forms of Corruption (UNODC)

11 EuropeAid Causes of Corruption Low levels of economic development and high levels of poverty Unintended consequences of economic liberalisation Unintended consequences of Foreign Direct Investment Weak institutions Lack of accountability and transparency Inequality Democracy (or a lack of democracy!) Offshore banking, tax havens and money laundering International organised crime

12 EuropeAid Consequences of Corruption Hampers economic growth and development Jeopardizes poverty reduction Increases cost of services, especially for the poor Weakens democracy Contributes to conflict Reduces the effectiveness of aid Weakens public support for aid Reduces trust in government and across society …..Its not the war, its the corruption… (Sri Lanka)

13 EuropeAid Challenges in fighting corruption Universal assumptions have hampered anti-corruption efforts Corruption is a contextual phenomenon The primacy of country context makes a clear case for better/more political economy analysis (PEA) International drivers of corruption are poorly understood or even acknowledged (language tends to be very national) Assessing and monitoring corruption is difficult, especially as the definitions used are often unclear or assumed Fighting corruption is inherently destabilising and even dangerous! o Definitions that bring in issues to do with power and politics make this more clear

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