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International Handbook on the Economics of Corruption, Volume Two

International Handbook on the Economics of Corruption, Volume Two

Elgar original reference

Edited by Susan Rose-Ackerman and Tina Søreide

A companion volume to the International Handbook on the Economics of Corruption published in 2006, the specially commissioned papers in Volume Two present some of the best policy-oriented research in the field. They stress the institutional roots of corruption and include new research on topics ranging from corruption in regulation and procurement to vote buying and private firm payoffs.

Chapter 19: Anti-Corruption Authorities: An Effective Tool to Curb Corruption?

Francesca Recanatini

Subjects: economics and finance, economic crime and corruption, law - academic, corruption and economic crime, law and economics


1 Francesca Recanatini 1. Introduction Fighting corruption has become a policy priority for the international development community over the past two decades. Tens of millions of dollars have been spent both multilaterally and bilaterally to understand and address the causes of corruption and poor governance. Extensive reform efforts aimed at reducing and preventing corruption have been launched. The first wave of anti-corruption reforms promoted a narrowly defined approach of ‘fighting corruption by fighting corruption’ – launching ad hoc anti-corruption initiatives and focusing on the introduction of anticorruption laws and regulations (Kaufmann, 2005). This approach, in part because it neglected to address the more fundamental and systematic governance reforms needed in many countries, failed to show significant progress in addressing corruption and forced governments and practitioners to rethink their approach to anti-corruption. The most recent wave of anti-corruption reforms builds on the idea that corruption is a dysfunction of public administration and emerges in the presence of monopoly and discretion, which in turn can be curbed by increasing (public officials’) accountability and (government’s) transparency (Klitgaard, 1988). Thus, reforms have focused on broadly strengthening country institutions, from general public sector reforms (in the areas of public procurement, civil servant management, and revenue administration) to specific initiatives targeted at promoting voice and accountability at the local level by increasing citizens’ access to information and transparency. As part of the first reform wave, practitioners suggested the creation of centralized anti-corruption authorities (ACAs)2 as a policy tool to address corruption more effectively at the country...

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