measuring the corruption plague

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  • Measuring the Corruption Plague



    Jorge Queiroz

    PhD Course SAMPOL902

    Effects of Lawfare: Courts and law as battlegrounds for social change

    Department of Comparative Politics

    University of Bergen

    October 2015

  • Jorge Queiroz: Measuring the Corruption Plague 2


    I would like to express my gratitude to Hon. Judge Robert Drain of the USBC

    Southern District of New York, a role model magistrate and human being for

    his insights and inspiration. I also want to thank the National Conference of

    Bankruptcy Judges that through its honorable judges provided me with a

    valuable knowledge of the rule of law. I wish to extend my gratitude to Dr.

    Jan Isaksen, Economist Emeritus CMI Chr. Michelsen Institute and Dr.

    Rachel Sieder, Senior Research Professor, Center for Research and Graduate

    Studies in Social Anthropology (CIESAS), Mexico City, who graciously gave

    me important suggestions.

    Jorge Queiroz

    Bergen, October 2015

  • Jorge Queiroz: Measuring the Corruption Plague 3

    Measuring the Corruption Plague


    Jorge Queiroz1


    The increasing juridification and judicialization of societies make the job of understanding, measuring, preventing and combating the corruption plague much more complex since white-collar criminals and their political and judicial cronies continuously act to circumvent the rule of law. Purpose Contextualize important moral, legal and other aspects that directly or indirectly affect how we understand and measure corruption, such as: the anthropology and pathology of corruption; cultural and civic aspects; accountability; legal aspects; decision factors to participate in corruption among others. Methodology/approach The methodology used is a combination of empirical and literature research. Findings (i) reinforcement of the dominance of governance/quality of institutions in corruption dynamics; (ii) that there are inherent virtues in both methods of research and analysis in the case of corruption, qualitative and quantitative; (iii) the importance of contextualizing and qualifying the meaning of the data related to corruption perception indexes of different data sources in light of the fact that corruption is not a monolithic linear phenomenon; (iv) there are still controversies in the use of perception indexes of corruption; (v) WGI and TI index of certain countries carry a wide difference among the ratings of the data sources used; (vi) understanding rationale of a decision to corrupt allows for the development of preventative anti-corruption programs; (vii) development of a new method to objectively measure corruption in monetary values and which will give a more real dimension of corruption in a country for development of a case study, and provide a sound basis for computer modeling using the system dynamics methodology for instance. Originality/value They are characterized by the fact that this particular holistic and trans-disciplinary approach to arrive at a better understanding and a criteria to objectively measure grand corruption has not, to the best of my knowledge, been used before. Keywords: corruption, anti-corruption, corruption anthropology, culture and corruption, social capital, civic capital and corruption, decision to corrupt, corruption pathology, corruption measurement, system dynamics Paper type Research Paper

    1 Jorge W. Queiroz 2015. Paper submitted for PhD Course - Effects of Lawfare:

    Courts and law as battlegrounds for social change University of Bergen October 2015.

  • Jorge Queiroz: Measuring the Corruption Plague 4


    Each of them will always abuse his freedom if he has none above him who exercises power in accord with the laws. The highest ruler should be just in himself, and still be a human. This task is therefore the hardest of all; indeed, its complete solution is impossible, for from such crooked wood as a human is made can nothing quite straight ever be fashioned. Only the approximation of this idea is imposed upon us by nature.2

    The increasing juridification and judicialization of societies make the job of understanding, measuring, preventing and combating the corruption plague much more complex and consequently justice more difficult to be delivered since white-collar criminals and their lawyers continuously add more alternatives to their arsenal of legal strategies to circumvent the rule of law as will be addressed herein.

    These are broad phenomena that also connect international actors across multiple issues and through time, and does so in multiple and complicated ways. This new comprehensive research3 is only in its initial stage and its purpose is to address key aspects that need to be further explored to allow a better contextualization of the corruption phenomenon before we move on to a case study research to objectively measure corruption. They are:

    i. The anthropology and pathology of corruption ii. Cultural aspects iii. Civic capital iv. Accountability and legal aspects v. Utility behind the decision to participate in corruption vi. Corruption schemes vii. Measurement of corruption

    In addition it aims to provide an original contribution to researchers, policy makers, practitioners, NGOs, donor agencies, and supra-national organizations in the quest to bring down corruption levels.

    Anthropological, cultural and civic dimensions, together with accountability and legal aspects have a strong explanatory power over the quality of institutions, which in turn has a strong two-way nexus with corruption. They are important dimensions that provide greater context to the analysis of governance and corruption in addition to making sense of what the perception based indexes of Transparency International (TI), World Banks Worldwide Governance Indicators (WGI) and others represent.

    These issues are also important to increase the awareness that the damages inflicted upon people by corruption are not only material, which does not comport with the existing econometric analyses that treat corruption as a unified, linear phenomenon.

    Corruption is a pressing problem that is now high priority on the agendas of many governments and organizations. It has existed in human society for over two thousand years and considering how long it has

    2 Immanuel Kant, Idee zu einer allgemeinen Geschichte in weltbrgerlicher Absicht, 6.

    Satz (1784) in Smtliche Werke in sechs Bnden, vol. 1, p. 230 (Groherzog Wilhelm Ernst ed. 1921)

    3 for research and analysis of the causal relationships of corruption using tools of qualitative system dynamics see (Queiroz, 2015)

  • Jorge Queiroz: Measuring the Corruption Plague 5

    affected crucial socioeconomic variables, I believe that corruption and its complexities are still little understood.

    International organizations such as the World Bank have identified corruption as the single greatest obstacle to economic and social development and estimated that corruption would reach conservatively US$ 1 trillion each year which corresponds to the size of the GDP of Norway and Sweden together. Furthermore, the World Bank has estimated that with such levels of corruption countries that tackle corruption, improve governance and the rule of law could increase per capita incomes by a staggering 400 percent (Dreher, Kotsogiannis, & McCorriston, 2007). Empirical results show that corruption lowers investment and, as a result economic growth (Gupta, Davoodi, & Terme, 1998; Mauro, 1995).

    Anthropologists (Haller & Shore, 2005) stated that "Outside of war, corruption poses probably the greatest single threat to democracy, and sleaze scandals have brought down governments in a host of countries, including Japan, Argentina, Germany, the Sudan and Great Britain", but the fact that corruption is also behind wars makes corruption no. 1 threat to democracy and welfare (which in many cases is already a reality).

    Combating corruption is a collective effort involving several agents of society including integrity warriors like the Norwegian-born magistrate and true hero Eva Joly internationally recognized for her tireless and fearless work against economic crime and corruption, and for her vision of a sustainable, equitable society. Among other things Eva Joly headed the biggest corruption case of the 1990s the scandal involving Frances largest oil company, Elf Aquitaine and also helped convince the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) to contribute to the Corruption Hunter Network upon its foundation in 2005 (Davis, 2010).4

    The study of corruption has increased significantly in the last 20 years a wealth of literature demonstrates the relationships between corruption, growth, governance, inequality, poverty, human capital, infrastructure, politics, rule of law, informality, illicit activities, violence/drugs, and


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