The Varieties of Corruption: Lessons From a Least Corrupt Case
2013 (English)In: Corruption in least corrupt countries. Scope, causes and consequences, Bergen 26-27 August 2013., 2013, 1-36 p.Conference paper (Refereed)
One of the main drivers of the rapid growth of corruption research the last 20 years is the easy access to empirical data via corruption rankings and composite indices that can be used for large-N analysis. It is also these indicators that mainly are used to place countries in the comparative literature (and elsewhere) and in analyses of the relationship between corruption and, among else, democracy, economic output and growth and institutional performance. Without doubt this literature has contributed to the field but there are also problems. In focus here are the effects of the habitual treatment of corruption as a single-dimensional phenomenon, and often tantamount to bribery, and as spatially constant within a country. I argue that the effects of this on our estimations and understanding of corruption are particularly well illustrated by established democracies with highly developed market economies placed in the category of “least-corrupt” countries (as manyWest European states), as corruption in these countries on theoretical grounds can be assumed not to centre on bribery. In the article I use Sweden, almost always referred to as a least corrupt case, to unveil what we see using various corruption indicators but also what we do not see when we employ the standard comparative measurements and legal data. Although we would expect corruption types other than bribery to be important in such a case (a least corrupt one), not least conflict of interest, this is missed out when we use the indicators that have become the standard in the literature. I conclude by discussing the implications of these findings for the accuracy of corruption measurement and by arguing for studies that nuance our picture of corruption, and also bring in conflict of interest.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. 1-36 p.
Research subject Social Sciences, Political Science Education
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-31505OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-31505DiVA: diva2:688687
Corruption in least corrupt countries. Scope, causes and consequences, Bergen 26-27 August 2013.