Transitions to Good Governance
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Transitions to Good Governance

Creating Virtuous Circles of Anti-corruption

Edited by Alina Mungiu-Pippidi and Michael Johnston

Why have so few countries managed to leave systematic corruption behind, while in many others modernization is still a mere façade? How do we escape the trap of corruption, to reach a governance system based on ethical universalism? In this unique book, Alina Mungiu-Pippidi and Michael Johnston lead a team of eminent researchers on an illuminating path towards deconstructing the few virtuous circles in contemporary governance. The book combines a solid theoretical framework with quantitative evidence and case studies from around the world. While extracting lessons to be learned from the success cases covered, Transitions to Good Governance avoids being prescriptive and successfully contributes to the understanding of virtuous circles in contemporary good governance.
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Chapter 10: Conclusions and lessons learned

Alina Mungiu-Pippidi and Michael Johnston


Building on the process-tracing analyses in the case studies, this chapter aims to find lessons learned from the contemporary achievers examined in this volume. It first complements the studies by looking at quantitative data on the control of corruption. The chapter thus provides evidence for the connection between the degree of modernization and the control of corruption. Our analysis shows that control of corruption is a driver of economic development. It also shows clear correlations between control of corruption and other indicators for human development. However, we find no evidence that the international anti-corruption movement can claim credit for the success stories listed in this book. While structural factors such as political agency and modernization of the state prove to be significant, we cannot say the same for anti-corruption instruments such as restrictions on party finance. In contrast, we even find that some of these instruments might even prompt more illegal behavior. Finally, this chapter discusses the lessons learned from the process-tracing chapters. We do not present straightforward best practices or measures that can be applied everywhere. Rather, we identify enabling conditions and processes that supported control of corruption in the cases analyzed. Each represents a complex set of important changes which, in many cases, were not even envisioned as anti-corruption measures. We show that these virtuous cases managed to build resistance to corruption in society at large. Citizens in these countries were guided by principles of openness, effective government and accountability. Attacking specific corrupt practices will normally be a necessary aspect of reform, but it is clearly not sufficient in establishing effective control of corruption. This final chapter of the volume makes clear that the process-tracing cases presented show the complexity of the issue in hand, but also give some hope that there are societies that manage to successfully establish virtuous circles.

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