An Ethnographic Approach
Edited by Davide Torsello
Chapter 8: Between condemnation and resignation: a study on attitudes towards corruption in the public health sector in Tanzania
Tanzania represents one of the well-documented cases of countries in Sub-Saharan Africa where corruption is widespread (Heilman and Ndumbaro 2002, Hyden 2008, Koechlin 2010, Phillips 2010). This has remained the case in spite of manifold commitments on the part of the regime to fight this problem and of the fact that Tanzania has in place, in the opinion of international experts, a state of the art anti-corruption legislation (Global Integrity 2010). Such assessments take into account the existence of key pieces of legislation such as the Public Leadership Code of Ethics Act of 1995, the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Act of 2007, the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2006 (amended in 2012), and policy instruments such as the National Anti-Corruption Strategy and Action Plan (NACSAP). Countries with highly entrenched and widespread corrupt practices are receiving significant attention in the literature in an effort to shed light on why, after roughly twenty years since anti-corruption came to the forefront in the international agenda, we still seem to be achieving only modest improvements (Heilman and Ndumbaro 2002, Hyden 2008, Hyden and Mmuya 2008, REPOA 2012). Some scholars have tried to address this topic by arguing that in some countries corruption should be understood as a collective action problem. In this view, corruption is fuelled and perpetuated by the widely shared expectation that everyone else will engage in corrupt actions, considerably elevating the perceived costs to resisting corruption, and therefore it should not be surprising that anti-corruption legislation and policies based on principal–agent assumptions fail to achieve the desired results under such conditions (Persson et al. 2013). Other authors make the distinction among governance regimes based on universalistic or particularistic criteria for conducting transactions as an analytical lens through which to frame the issue (Mungiu-Pippidi 2014), whereas yet others are beginning to point to the functionality of corrupt practices as the starting point to understand their resilience (Marquette and Peiffer 2015).
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