Research Handbooks in Financial Law series
Edited by Barry Rider
Chapter 32: Corruption – new strategies
International financial crimes has emerged as a popular research topic of late, undoubtedly due to the increased public demand for accountability and the need to fill state coffers following the financial crisis of 2007–08. This chapter provides an overview of how broader research on corruption and its control can inform more specific studies of international financial crimes, and how overarching strategies to mitigate corruption are changing due to new theoretical developments in the field. This chapter surveys selected policy-relevant literature. It focuses on the literature that has mushroomed since the beginning of the global anti-corruption movement in the mid-1990s, initially led by the World Bank and later also promoted by other international organisations such as the United Nations, the OECD, the European Commission, and so on. As shown below, no grand theory exists that students of corruption can readily apply to understand all of its facets. However, most prevailing anti-corruption strategies are based on a principal–agent view of corrupt transactions, rooted in economic theory. An analytical approach rooted in economics can understand micro-level corrupt transactions and forms of bureaucratic corruption, but is often blind to issues regarding political economy, informal institutions and power structures. This chapter proposes two new perspectives for research and strategy. First, historical institutionalism is a useful analytical approach to inform anti-corruption strategies, as it recognises that current choices are shaped by past actions, and the salience of institutions.
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