Different Paths to Curbing Corruption: Volume 23

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Table of contents

(17 chapters)
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Abstract

Denmark’s apparent success at controlling corruption is likely both real and more complex than it may appear. This chapter reviews a series of hypotheses about the extent and sources of corruption control in Denmark, emphasizing both domestic and international factors. Some possible vulnerabilities are discussed, including whether Greenland – which is usually excluded from Danish governance ratings – might introduce corruption via its mining industries, and whether the growing wind-power industry (in some senses, another extractive enterprise) might also encourage corruption. A simple data analysis, using the Gothenburg University Quality of Government Impartiality Index, suggests that small social scale, a homogeneous population, competitive politics, and extensive international connectedness might well help check Danish corruption, but relationships among the variables are complex and marked by considerable simultaneity. Denmark illustrates two subtleties often overlooked: the importance of “soft controls” – social values, a working consensus, an emphasis on fairness, and common goals – for corruption control, and the question of whether advanced market societies really control corruption or merely reduce incentives to engage in it, as a result of business-friendly policies and institutions. A final issue involves dependent variables: better indirect measures of corruption might well be obtained by gathering and benchmarking indicators of government performance.

Abstract

As a Nordic country, Finland is known as a nation with a low level of perceived corruption. This chapter analyzes how corruption is controlled in Finland by asking first, how the different forms of corruption can be identified, including the context and risk areas of corruption; second, what the policies, authorities, and tools for curbing corruption are; and third, how effective are these measures for controlling corruption in Finland. This chapter describes the different aspects of corruption and the corruption control system in Finland, including the level of perceived corruption, anti-corruption regulations, tools and instruments for curbing corruption, and the main watchdog institutions. The main finding is that the control system has worked well so far but it needs reform in the future. The concluding section deals with some challenges facing the control system.

Abstract

The implicit assumption underlying the work of most anti-corruption agencies (ACAs) is that they need to change public attitudes toward corruption to ensure a cleaner future. The means of achieving this objective usually rest on sanctions, prevention, and sermons. Changing attitudes is seen to be largely a matter of prosecuting the corrupt, putting preventive measures in place, emphasizing the negative social and criminal consequences of corruption, and exhorting the public to achieve higher moral standards. Engaging the public is rarely undertaken directly. If it were, it would entail a community relations approach based on face-to-face, decentralized interaction between the ACA and the public. In principle, this approach might have three significant advantages. First, it could enable the anti-corruption message to be communicated more directly and, possibly, more effectively. Second, it might assist the ACA in identifying groups within the community which have developed, or are developing, attitudes which are potentially antithetical to its objectives. Third, it could serve as a springboard for local anti-corruption initiatives which might help to embed desired practices in the community or groups within it. In this chapter, we examine the extent to which one of the few agencies to adopt a full-blown community relations strategy – Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) – has been able to achieve those benefits.

Abstract

New Zealand has long been regarded as a country with little or no governmental corruption. In recent times it has been ranked consistently as one of the five least corrupt countries in the world, on Transparency International’s (TI) Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI). In 2009 and 2011 it was ranked as the single most corruption-free country on the CPI, and in 2012 it shared first place with Denmark and Finland. This chapter examines the reasons why historically New Zealand has been largely free of governmental corruption, using widely accepted definitions of what constitutes corrupt behavior. It goes on to argue that, at least by its own normal standards, the country might now be more susceptible to corruption, for a variety of reasons, in both the public and private sectors, and that more political and administrative attention may need to be paid to this issue. This chapter discusses New Zealand’s surprising tardiness in ratifying the United Nations Convention against Corruption, an apparent reluctance that leaves the country sitting alongside other non-ratifying countries which have endemic levels of corruption in all its forms. In this context, this chapter also notes some international dissatisfaction with New Zealand’s anti-money laundering legislation, enacted in 2009.

Abstract

Corruption was a serious problem in Singapore during the British colonial period and especially after the Japanese Occupation (February 1942–August 1945) mainly because of the lack of political will to curb it by the incumbent governments. In contrast, the People’s Action Party (PAP) government, which assumed office in June 1959 after winning the May 1959 general election, demonstrated its political will with the enactment of the Prevention of Corruption Act (POCA) in June 1960, which strengthened the capacity of the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) to combat corruption effectively. Indeed, Singapore’s success in curbing corruption is reflected in its consistently high scores on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) from 1995 to 2012 as the least corrupt country in Asia. Singapore was ranked first with Denmark and New Zealand in the 2010 CPI with a score of 9.30. Similarly, Singapore has been ranked first in the Political and Economic Risk Consultancy (PERC) annual surveys on corruption from 1995 to 2013. Why has Singapore succeeded in minimizing the problem of corruption when many other Asian countries have failed to do so? What lessons can these countries learn from Singapore’s experience in combating corruption? This chapter addresses these two questions by first describing Singapore’s favorable policy context, followed by an identification of the major causes of corruption during the British colonial period and Japanese Occupation, and an evaluation of the PAP government’s anti-corruption strategy.

Abstract

Corruption in India reached a crescendo between 2011 and 2013, with the exposure of the 2G Spectrum scandal and the “Coalgate” report fiasco at the top of all recent events. The largest working democracy is under the scanner. As the third largest economy in Asia, a nuclear power, and an information technology powerhouse, India has a lot to clean up. Current experience shows the failure of the top investigative agencies and the lack of political will to tackle corruption. The spate of high-level corruption scandals has also led to a popular movement in 2011, which also fizzled out, including the newly introduced “Anti-Corruption, Grievance Redressal and Whistleblower Protection Act, 2011.” This chapter examines the several issues involved.

Abstract

In nature, the adaptable survive best. In human affairs, elites do better than others, much better when they take advantage of both fair and foul means to exercise public authority and influence. Where absolutism prevails, the disadvantaged cannot make much headway unless their betters make concessions to share communal treasures, govern responsibly and accountably, and refrain from abusing social norms. The evolution of the welfare democracy has brought about the greatest success in making communal benefits more accessible and attainable to all, recognizing the universal dignity and rights of every individual, and, above all, curbing corrupt institutions and practices wherever revealed. Although the ideals of the welfare democracy have been confined to relatively few countries, they illustrate what is achievable. They also have been active in convincing the international community to recognize two landmark United Nations conventions concerning both private and public sectors to strive for greater global success in combating corruption, despite unpromising circumstances and the many obstacles that still favor the corrupt and corrupted at everyone’s cost. Context is the most important variable. Success in curbing corruption requires the adaptation of reforms to the specific context. It cannot be imposed without thorough knowledge of the circumstances and devoted agents on the ground.

Abstract

Chapters 2–6 have dealt in turn with how Denmark, Finland, Hong Kong, New Zealand, and Singapore have been effective in curbing corruption, as manifested in their rankings and scores on the five international indicators of the perceived extent of corruption. In contrast, Chapter 7 focuses on India’s ineffective anti-corruption measures and identifies the lessons which India can learn from their success in fighting corruption. The aim of this concluding chapter is twofold: to describe and compare the different paths taken by these six countries in their battle against corruption; and to identify the lessons which other countries can learn from their experiences in combating corruption. However, as the policy contexts of these six countries differ significantly, it is necessary to begin by providing an analysis of their contextual constraints before proceeding to compare their anti-corruption strategies and identifying the relevant lessons for other countries.

DOI
10.1108/S0732-1317(2013)23
Publication date
2013-11-26
Book series
Research in Public Policy Analysis and Management
Editor
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
ISBN
978-1-78190-730-6
eISBN
978-1-78190-731-3
Book series ISSN
0732-1317