Despite the adoption of electoral democracy across all regions of the world, charges of corruption seem to be arising everywhere. But is corruption really on the rise? Which countries are the most corrupt? Do highly corrupt countries share any common characteristics that we can identify and perhaps mitigate? Corruption clearly has social costs ranging from diversion of funds for public programs to undermining of public trust in government. Yet, few recent attempts to fight corruption have succeeded. Challenges of bad governance, high levels of corruption and low levels of accountability persist. Moreover, it remains an open question whether all countries – particularly those with large informal economies – would be better off if all corruption were somehow eradicated.
This course explores these questions, as well as related policy issues, such as electoral fraud, turnout suppression, the role of information and transparency on improving governance and accountability, and anti-corruption strategies. We examine contemporary interventions such as E-governance and anti-corruption agencies. To help answer these questions, we will explore a range of country case studies, including Brazil, China, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Italy, and the U.S.