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Rethinking corruption: hocus-pocus, locus and focus

Heywood, Paul M.

Authors

Paul M. Heywood paul.heywood@nottingham.ac.uk



Abstract

Although there has been a significant increase in research on the phenomenon of corruption over the last quarter-century, there is little evidence that this has resulted in effective policy interventions, nor in any significant reduction in its scope and extent. This article argues that three main reasons account for this failure to develop effective anti-corruption measures. First, the dominance of economistic analyses of the role of incentives in decision-making has given rise to proposed institutional fixes that are too abstracted from reality to gain purchase. That dominance was partly prompted by a misplaced assumption that market-based liberal democracies would become the modal regime type following the collapse of communism. Second, an emphasis on the nation state as the primary unit of analysis has not kept pace with significant changes in how some forms of corruption operate in practice, nor with the changing nature of states themselves. Third, different types of corruption are insufficiently disaggregated according not just to kind and form, but also to the locations in which they occur (sectoral, organisational, geographical), the actors involved, and the dependencies that enable them. This reflects an overuse of the term ‘corruption’ in both academic literature and policy recommendations; insufficient attention is paid to what exactly is being addressed and ultimately, the notion of corruption, without adjectives, is a poor guide both to analysis and to policy prescription.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 31, 2017
Journal Slavonic and East European Review
Print ISSN 0037-6795
Electronic ISSN 0037-6795
Publisher University College London, School of Slavonic and East European Studies
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 95
Issue 1
APA6 Citation Heywood, P. M. (2017). Rethinking corruption: hocus-pocus, locus and focus. Slavonic and East European Review, 95(1), doi:10.5699/slaveasteurorev2.95.1.0021
DOI https://doi.org/10.5699/slaveasteurorev2.95.1.0021
Keywords Corruption, Anti-corruption, Good governance, Money laundering
Publisher URL http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5699/slaveasteurorev2.95.1.0021
Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://eprints.nottingh.../end_user_agreement.pdf
Additional Information Paul M. Heywood. “Rethinking Corruption: Hocus-Pocus, Locus and Focus.” The Slavonic and East European Review, vol. 95, no. 1, 2017, pp. 21–48. www.jstor.org/stable/10.5699/slaveasteurorev2.95.1.0021.

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Copyright Statement
Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/end_user_agreement.pdf





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