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A world map of the 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index by Transparency International, which measures "the degree to which corruption is perceived to exist among public officials and politicians". High numbers (blue) indicate less perception of corruption, whereas lower numbers (red) indicate higher perception of corruption.

There is no globally accepted definition of corruption. In philosophical, theological, or moral discussions, corruption is the abuse of bestowed power or position to acquire a personal benefit. Corruption may include many activities including bribery and embezzlement. Government, or 'political', corruption occurs when an office-holder or other governmental employee acts in an official capacity for personal gain.

The word corrupt when used as an adjective literally means "utterly broken".[1] The word was first used by Aristotle and later by Cicero who added the terms bribe and abandonment of good habits.[2] Stephen D. Morris,[3] a professor of politics, writes that [political] corruption is the illegitimate use of public power to benefit a private interest.

Economist Ian Senior[4] defines corruption as an action to (a) secretly provide (b) a good or a service to a third party (c) so that he or she can influence certain actions which (d) benefit the corrupt, a third party, or both (e) in which the corrupt agent has authority. Daniel Kaufmann,[5] from the World Bank extends the concept to include 'legal corruption' in which power is abused within the confines of the law—as those with power often have the ability to make laws for their protection.


  • Scales of corruption 1
    • Petty corruption 1.1
    • Grand corruption 1.2
    • Systemic corruption 1.3
  • Corruption in different sectors 2
    • Government/public sector 2.1
      • Political corruption 2.1.1
      • Police corruption 2.1.2
      • Judicial corruption 2.1.3
    • Corruption in the educational system/universities 2.2
    • Within labor unions 2.3
  • Methods 3
    • Bribery 3.1
    • Embezzlement, theft and fraud 3.2
    • Extortion and blackmail 3.3
  • Types of corrupt gains 4
    • Abuse of discretion 4.1
    • Favoritism, nepotism and clientelism 4.2
  • Preventing corruption 5
  • Anti-corruption programmes 6
  • Legal corruption 7
    • Examples of legal corruption 7.1
      • 1. Foreign corrupt practices of industrialized OECD countries 1994 (Parliamentary Financial Commission study, Bonn) 7.1.1
      • 2. "Specific" Legal Corruption: exclusively against foreign countries 7.1.2
    • A Siemens corruption case 7.2
  • See also 8
  • References 9
  • Further reading 10
  • External links 11

Scales of corruption

A billboard in Zambia exhorting the public to "Just say no to corruption".

Corruption can occur on different scales. There is corruption that occurs as small favors between a small number of people (petty corruption), corruption that affects the government on a large scale (grand corruption), and corruption that is so prevalent that it is part of the everyday structure of society, including corruption as one of the symptoms of organized crime (systemic corruption).

Petty corruption

Petty corruption occurs at a smaller scale and takes place at the implementation end of public services when public officials meet the public. Examples include the exchange of small improper gifts or use of personal connections to obtain favours or a speedy completion of routine government procedures. This form of corruption is usually pursued by junior and middle level officials, who are significantly underpaid.

Grand corruption

Grand corruption is defined as corruption occurring at the highest levels of government in a way that requires significant subversion of the political, legal and economic systems. Such corruption is commonly found in countries with authoritarian or dictatorial governments but also in those without adequate policing of corruption.

The government system in many countries is divided into the legislative, executive and judiciary branches in an attempt to provide independent services that are less prone to corruption due to their independence.

Systemic corruption

Systemic corruption (or endemic corruption)[6] is corruption which is primarily due to the weaknesses of an organization or process. It can be contrasted with individual officials or agents who act corruptly within the system.

Factors which encourage systemic corruption include conflicting incentives, discretionary powers; monopolistic powers; lack of transparency; low pay; and a culture of impunity.[7] Specific acts of corruption include "bribery, extortion, and embezzlement" in a system where "corruption becomes the rule rather than the exception."[8] Scholars distinguish between centralized and decentralized systemic corruption, depending on which level of state or government corruption takes place; in countries such as the Post-Soviet states both types occur.[9] Some scholars argue that there is a negative duty of western governments to protect against systematic corruption of underdeveloped governments.[10][11]

Corruption in different sectors

Corruption can occur in any sectors, whether they be public or private industry or even NGOs. However, only in democratic controlled institutions there is an interest of the public (owner) to develop internal mechanisms to fight active or passive corruption, whereas in private industry as well as in NGOs there is no public control. Therefore, the owners' investors' or sponsors' profits are largely decisive.

Government/public sector

Public sector corruption includes corruption of the political process and of government agencies such as the police as well as corruption in processes of allocating public funds for contracts, grants, and hiring. Recent research by the World Bank suggests that who makes policy decisions (elected officials or bureaucrats) can be critical in determining the level of corruption because of the incentives different policy-makers face,[12]

Political corruption

A political cartoon from Harper's Weekly, January 26, 1878, depicting U.S. Secretary of the Interior Carl Schurz investigating the Indian Bureau at the U.S. Department of the Interior. The original caption for the cartoon is: "THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR INVESTIGATING THE INDIAN BUREAU. GIVE HIM HIS DUE, AND GIVE THEM THEIR DUES."

Political corruption is the abuse of public power, office, or resources by elected government officials for personal gain, e.g. by extortion, soliciting or offering bribes[13] It can also take the form of office holders maintaining themselves in office by purchasing votes by enacting laws which use taxpayers' money.[14] Evidence suggests that corruption can have political consequences- with citizens being asked for bribes becoming less likely to identify with their country or region.[15]

Police corruption

Police corruption is a specific form of police misconduct designed to obtain financial benefits, other personal gain, and/or career advancement for a police officer or officers in exchange for not pursuing, or selectively pursuing, an investigation or arrest. One common form of police corruption is soliciting and/or accepting bribes in exchange for not reporting organized drug or prostitution rings or other illegal activities.

Another example is police officers flouting the police internal affairs sections to investigate suspected police corruption or misconduct. Similar entities include the British Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Judicial corruption

Judicial corruption refers to corruption related misconduct of judges, through receiving or giving bribes, improper sentencing of convicted criminals, bias in the hearing and judgement of arguments and other such misconduct.

Governmental corruption of judiciary is broadly known in many transitional and developing countries because the budget is almost completely controlled by the executive. The latter undermines the separation of powers, as it creates a critical financial dependence of the judiciary. The proper national wealth distribution including the government spending on the judiciary is subject of the constitutional economics.

It is important to distinguish between the two methods of corruption of the judiciary: the government (through budget planning and various privileges), and the private.[16] Judicial corruption can be difficult to completely eradicate, even in developed countries.[17]

Corruption in the educational system/universities

In some countries, such as certain eastern European countries and certain Asian countries, corruption occurs frequently in universities.[18] This can include bribes to bypass bureaucratic procedures and bribing faculty for a grade.[18][19] The willingness to engage in corruption such as accepting bribe money in exchange for grades decreases if individuals perceive such behavior as very objectionable, i.e. a violation of social norms and if they fear sanctions in terms of the severity and probability of sanctions.[19]

Within labor unions

The Teamsters (

  • Cohen, Nissim (2012). Informal payments for healthcare – The phenomenon and its context. Journal of Health Economics, Policy and Law, 7 (3): 285–308.
  • Mantzaris, E., Tsekeris, C. and Tsekeris, T. (2014). Interrogating Corruption: Lessons from South Africa. International Journal of Social Inquiry, 7 (1): 1–17.
  • The Chr. Michelsen Institute The largest center for development research in Scandinavia, with a subfocus on governance-and-corruption.
  • Public Corruption: Courtroom for Sale FBI
  • Public Corruption - FBI Agent Helps Protect His Native American Community

External links

  • Melese, François (2008). "Corruption". In  
  • Garifullin R.R. Bribe-taking mania as one of the causes of bribery. The concept of psychological and psychotherapeutic approaches to the problem of bribery and bribe-taking mania. J. Aktualnye Problemy Ekonomiki i Prava" ("Current Problems in Economics and Law"), no. 4(24), 2012, pp. 9-15

Further reading

  1. ^ "Corrupt | Define Corrupt at". Retrieved 2010-12-06. 
  2. ^ Llaca, E.G. (2005), La Corrupcion: Patologia Colectiva [Corruption: Collective Pathology], INAP/CNDH/FCPSUAM, Ciudad de México
  3. ^ Morris, S.D. (1991), Corruption and Politics in Contemporary Mexico. University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa
  4. ^ Senior, I. (2006), Corruption - The World’s Big C., Institute of Economic Affairs, London
  5. ^ "Glossary". U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre. Retrieved 26 June 2011. 
  6. ^ Lorena Alcazar, Raul Andrade (2001). Diagnosis corruption. pp. 135–136.  
  7. ^ Znoj, Heinzpeter (2009). "Deep Corruption in Indonesia: Discourses, Practices, Histories". In Monique Nuijten, Gerhard Anders. Corruption and the secret of law: a legal anthropological perspective. Ashgate. pp. 53–54.  
  8. ^ Legvold, Robert (2009). "Corruption, the Criminalized State, and Post-Soviet Transitions". In Robert I. Rotberg. Corruption, global security, and world orde. Brookings Institution. p. 197.  
  9. ^ Merle, Jean-Christophe, ed. (2013). "Global Challenges to Liberal Democracy". Spheres of Global Justice 1: 812. 
  10. ^ Pogge, Thomas. "Severe Poverty as a Violation of Negative Duties". Retrieved 8 February 2015. 
  11. ^ Hamilton, Alexander (2013). "Small is beautiful, at least in high-income democracies: the distribution of policy-making responsibility, electoral accountability, and incentives for rent extraction" (PDF). World Bank. 
  12. ^ Shumba, Gabriel (2007). "Institutional working definition of corruption" (PDF). Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa 
  13. ^ "SOS, Missouri – State Archives Publications". Retrieved 2013-04-19. 
  14. ^ Hamilton, A.; Hudson, J. (2014). "Bribery and Identity: Evidence from Sudan" (PDF). Bath Economic Research Papers, No 21/14. 
  15. ^ Barenboim, Peter (October 2009). Defining the rules. Issue 90. The European Lawyer. 
  16. ^ Pahis, Stratos (2009). "Corruption in Our Courts: What It Looks Like and Where It Is Hidden". The Yale Law Journal 118. Retrieved 1 August 2015. 
  17. ^ a b Heyneman, S. P., Anderson, K. H. and Nuraliyeva, N. (2008). The cost of corruption in higher education. Comparative Education Review, 51, 1–25.
  18. ^ a b Graeff, P., Sattler, S., Mehlkop, G. and Sauer, C. (2014). "Incentives and Inhibitors of Abusing Academic Positions: Analysing University Students’ Decisions about Bribing Academic Staff" In: European Sociological Review 30(2) 230–241.10.1093/esr/jct036
  19. ^ "FBI — Italian/Mafia". Retrieved 2014-04-24. 
  20. ^ "United Nations Handbook on Practical Anti-Corruption Measures For Prosecutors and Investigators" (PDF). United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Retrieved 3 November 2012. 
  21. ^ Wang, Peng (2013). "The rise of the Red Mafia in China: a case study of organised crime and corruption in Chongqing". Trends in Organized Crime 16 (1): 49–73.  
  22. ^ Klitgaard, Robert (1998), Controlling Corruption, University of California Press, Berkely, CA
  23. ^ Stephan, Constantin (2012), Industrial Health, Safety and Environmental Management, MV Wissenschaft, Muenster, 3rd edition 2012, pp. 26-28, ISBN 978-3-86582-452-3
  24. ^ IMF on OECD Convention, (page 3) "Historical Background and Context"
  25. ^ "OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions"
  26. ^ OECD Anti-Bribery Country Monitoring
  27. ^ a b "Forgues-Puccio, G.F. April 2013, Existing practices on anti-corruption, Economic and private sector professional evidence and applied knowledge services helpdesk request". Retrieved 2014-04-24. 
  28. ^ Kaufmann, Daniel; Vicente, Pedro (2011). "Legal Corruption (revised)" (PDF). Economics and Politics, v23. pp. 195–219. 
  29. ^ Kaufmann, Daniel; Vicente, Pedro (2011). "Legal Corruption (revised)" (PDF). Economics and Politics, v23. p. 195. 
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^
  33. ^ a b c "Drucksache 12/8468" (Bonn Parliament records, September 8th, 1994, pages 4-6)
  34. ^ Drucksache 12/8468: "Die Ablehnung erfolgte mit den Stimmen der Koalitionsfraktionen gegen die Stimmen der Fraktion der SPD bei Abwesenheit der Gruppen BÜNDNIS 90/DIE GRÜNEN und der PDS/Linke Liste."
  35. ^ § 4 chapter 5 no. 10 Income Tax Act, valid until 19 March 1999
  36. ^ the term "official" had been limited to German jurisdiction. Officials of other states legally were no "officials". See "Gedächtnisschrift für Rolf Keller" Essay in Memory for Rolf Keller, 2003, Edited by Criminal Law professors from the Law Faculty of Tübingen and the Ministry of Justice of Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany, page 104: "Nach der Legaldefinition des §11 I Nr.2a StGB versteht man unter einem Amtsträger u.a. eine Person, die >>nach deutschem Recht Beamter oder Richter ist. Die Vorschrift enthält also eine vom Wortlaut her eindeutige Einschränkung auf das deutsche Recht. Ausländische Amtsträger werden somit nicht erfasst."
  37. ^ OECD: RECOMMENDATION OF THE COUNCIL on Bribery in International Business Transactions
  38. ^ Britta Bannenberg, Korruption in Deutschland und ihre strafrechtliche Kontrolle, page VII (Introduction): "Durch die OECD-Konvention und europaweite Abkommen wurden auch in Deutschland neue Anti-Korruptions-Gesetze geschaffen, so dass nun die Auslandsbestechung durch deutsche Unternehmen dem Strafrecht unterfällt und die Bestechungsgelder nicht mehr als Betriebsausgaben von der Steuer abgesetzt werden können."
  39. ^ Parliamentary Financial Commission's study 1994, pages 6+7: "Nach Auffassung der Fraktion der SPD belegt auch der Bericht der Bundesregierung eindeutig, daß in den meisten ausländischen Industriestaaten Schmier- und Bestechungsgelder in wesentlich geringerem Umfang als in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland steuerlich abgesetzt werden könnten. So müsse in fast allen Staaten bei Zahlungen in das Ausland der Empfänger angegeben werden... Die Abzugsfähigkeit der genannten Ausgaben (Schmier- und Bestechungsgelder) stelle eine steuerliche Subvention dar..."
  40. ^ a b "...dass es bei Siemens nach den Feststellungen des Urteils nicht nur eine, sondern ein ganzes "etabliertes" System schwarzer Kassen im Ausland gegeben hat. Dieses System bestand über Jahre bzw. Jahrzehnte, wurde im Wege der Verantwortlichkeitsnachfolge quasi auf Vorstandsebene übertragen und von einem Mitarbeiter sogar zu 2/3 seiner Arbeitszeit nur für die Sparte Siemens PG betreut."
  41. ^ Transparency International: "Geschützt durch das Steuergeheimnis dürfen die Steuerbehörden Hinweise auf Korruption nicht an die Staatsanwaltschaft melden."
  42. ^ "Shadow economy in Germany"
  43. ^ Onlinezeitschrift für Höchstrichterliche Rechtsprechung zum Strafrecht
  44. ^ "Als Ergebnis verbleibt mithin: Der Gesetzgeber hat bislang nicht in relevanter Art und Weise offenbart, dass er auch ausländische Wettbewerbe bzw. Rechtsgüter schützen will. Er hat diesen Schutz lediglich nicht durch den Wortlaut des § 299 II a.F. StGB ausgeschlossen. Die vom Landgericht vorgenommene Normausdehnung hat er nicht vorgezeichnet."


Cultural dynamics:

See also

During the judicial proceedings however it was disclosed that numerous such black accounts had been established in the past decades.[41]

In 2007 Siemens was convicted in the District Court of Darmstadt of criminal corruption against the Italian corporation Enel Power SpA. Siemens had paid almost €3.5 million in bribes to be selected for a €200 million project from the Italian corporation, partially owned by the government. The deal was handled through black money accounts in Switzerland and Liechtenstein that were established specifically for such purposes.[44] Because the crime was committed in 1999, after the OECD convention had come into force, this foreign corrupt practice could be prosecuted. According to Bucerius Law School professors Frank Saliger and Karsten Gaede, for the first time a German court of law convicted foreign corrupt practices like national ones although the corresponding law did not yet protect foreign competitors in business.[45]

A Siemens corruption case

Particularly, the non-disclosure of the bribe money recipients' name in tax declarations had been a powerful instrument for Legal Corruption during the '90ies for German corporations, enabling them to block foreign legal jurisdictions which intended to fight corruption in their countries. Hence, they uncontrolled established a strong network of clientelism around Europe (e.g. SIEMENS)[41] along with the formation of the European Single Market in the upcoming EU and the EURO zone. Moreover, in order to further strengthen active corruption the prosecution of tax evasion during that decade had been severely limited. German tax authorities were instructed to refuse any disclosure of bribe recipients' names from tax declarations to the German criminal prosecution.[42] As a result, German corporations have been systematically increasing their informal economy from 1980 until today up to 350 bn € per annum (see diagram on the right), thus continuously feeding their black money reserves.[43]

Referring to the recommendation of the above-mentioned Parliamentary Financial Commission's study,[34] the then Kohl administration (1991-1994) decided to maintain the legality of corruption against officials exclusively in foreign transactions[37] and confirmed the full deductibility of bribe money, co-financing thus a specific nationalistic corruption practice (§4 Abs. 5 Nr. 10 EStG, valid until March 19, 1999) in contradiction to the 1994 OECD recommendation.[38] The respective law was not changed before the OECD Convention also in Germany came into force (1999).[39] According to the Parliamentary Financial Commission's study, however, in 1994 most countries' corruption practices were not nationalistic and much more limited by the respective laws compared to Germany.[40]

2. "Specific" Legal Corruption: exclusively against foreign countries

UK: kickbacks and bribes are deductible if they have been paid for operating purposes. The tax authority may request the name and address of the recipient."

USA: (rough résumé: "generally operational expenses are deductible if they are not illegal according to the FCPA")

Switzerland: bribe payments are tax deductible if it is clearly operation initiated and the consignee is indicated.

Austria: bribes justified by the operation (of a company) are deductible as business expenses. However, the tax authority may require that the payer names the recipient of the deducted payments exactly. If the indication of the name is denied e.g. because of business comity, the expenses claimed are not recognized as operating expenses. This principle also applies to payments to foreigners...

Netherlands: all expenses that are directly or closely related to the business are deductible. This also applies to expenditure outside the actual business operations if they are considered beneficial as to the operation for good reasons by the management. What counts is the good merchant custom. Neither the law nor the administration is authorized to determine which expenses are not operationally justified and therefore not deductible. For the business expense deduction it is not a requirement that the recipient is specified. It is sufficient to elucidate to the satisfaction of the tax authorities that the payments are in the interest of the operation.

Luxembourg: bribes, justified by the operation (of a company) are deductible as business expenses. However, the tax authorities may require that the payer is to designate the receiver by name. If not, the expenses are not recognized as operating expenses.

Canada: there is no general rule on the deductibility or non-deductibility of kickbacks and bribes. Hence the rule is that necessary expenses for obtaining the income (contract) are deductible. Payments to members of the public service and domestic administration of justice, to officers and employees and those charged with the collection of fees, entrance fees etc. for the purpose to entice the recipient to the violation of his official duties, can not be abated as business expenses as well as illegal payments according to the Criminal Code.

Japan: in Japan, bribes are deductible as business expenses that are justified by the operation (of the company) if the name and address of the recipient is specified. This also applies to payments to foreigners. If the indication of the name is refused, the expenses claimed are not recognized as operating expenses.

  • The business expense deduction (of the bribe money) is eliminated.
  • For corporations and other legal entities, a tax penalty of 100% of the "rémunérations occult" and 75% for voluntary post declaration is to be paid.
  • There may be a general fine of up 200 FF fixed per case.

France: basically all operating expenses can be deducted. However, staff costs must correspond to an actual work done and must not be excessive compared to the operational significance. This also applies to payments to foreign parties. Here, the receiver shall specify the name and address, unless the total amount in payments per beneficiary does not exceed 500 FF. If the receiver is not disclosed the payments are considered "rémunérations occult" and are associated with the following disadvantages:

Denmark: bribe payments are deductible when a clear operational context exists and its adequacy is maintained.

In the absence of the required conditions, for corporate taxable companies paying bribes without proof of the receiver, a special tax of 200% is charged. This special tax may, however, be abated along with the bribe amount as an operating expense.

  • Payments must be necessary in order to be able to survive against foreign competition
  • They must be common in the industry
  • A corresponding application must be made to the Treasury each year
  • Payments must be appropriate
  • The payer has to pay a lump-sum to the tax office to be fixed by the Finance Minister (at least 20% of the amount paid).

Belgium: bribe payments are generally tax deductible as business expenses if the name and address of the beneficiary is disclosed. Under the following conditions kickbacks in connection with exports abroad are permitted for deduction even without proof of the receiver:

1. Foreign corrupt practices of industrialized OECD countries 1994 (Parliamentary Financial Commission study, Bonn)[34]

17 years after the FCPA enacting, a Parliamentary Financial Commission in Bonn presented a comparative study on legal corruption in industrialized OECD countries[34] (see below). As a result, they reported that in most industrial countries even at that time (1994) foreign corruption was legal, and that their foreign corrupt practices had been diverging to a large extend, ranging from simple legalization, through governmental subsidization (tax deduction), up to extremes like in Germany where foreign corruption was fostered, whereas domestic was legally prosecuted. Consequently, in order to support national export corporations the Parliamentary Financial Commission recommended to reject a related previous Parliamentary Proposal by the opposition leader which had been aiming to limit German foreign corruption on the basis of the US FCPA.[35] Only after the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention came into force Germany withdraw the legalization of foreign corruption in 1999.[36]

In 1977 the USA had enacted the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA)[31] "for the purpose of making it unlawful... to make payments to foreign government officials to assist in obtaining or retaining business" and invited all OECD countries to follow suit. In 1997 a corresponding OECD Anti-Bribery Convention was signed by its members.[32][33]

Examples of legal corruption

Though corruption is often viewed as illegal, there is an evolving concept of legal corruption,[5][29] as developed by Daniel Kaufmann and Pedro Vicente. It might be termed as processes which are corrupt, but are protected by a legal (that is, specifically permitted, or at least not proscribed by law) framework.[30]

Legal corruption

  • The theories behind the fight against corruption are moving from a Principal agent approach to a collective action problem. Principal-agent theories seem not to be suitable to target systemic corruption.
  • The role of multilateral institutions has been crucial in the fight against corruption. UNCAC provides a common guideline for countries around the world. Both Transparency International and the World Bank provide assistance to national governments in term of diagnostic and design of anti-corruption policies.
  • The use of anti-corruption agencies have proliferated in recent years after the signing of UNCAC. They found no convincing evidence on the extent of their contribution, or the best way to structure them.
  • Traditionally anti-corruption policies have been based on success experiences and common sense. In recent years there has been an effort to provide a more systematic evaluation of the effectiveness of anti-corruption policies. They found that this literature is still in its infancy.
  • Anti-corruption policies that may be in general recommended to developing countries may not be suitable for post-conflict countries. Anti-corruption policies in fragile states have to be carefully tailored.
  • Anti-corruption policies can improve the business environment. There is evidence that lower corruption may facilitate doing business and improve firm’s productivity. Rwanda in the last decade has made tremendous progress in improving governance and the business environment providing a model to follow for post-conflict countries.[28]

In 2013, a document[28] produced by the economic and private sector professional evidence and applied knowledge services help-desk discusses some of the existing practices on anti-corruption. They found:

As early as 1989 the OECD had established an ad hoc Working Group in order to explore "...the concepts fundamental to the offense of corruption, and the exercise of national jurisdiction over offenses committed wholly or partially abroad."[25] Based on the FCPA concept, the Working Group presented in 1994 the then "OECD Anti-Bribery Recommendation" as precursor for the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions[26] which was signed in 1997 by all member countries and came finally into force in 1999. However, because of ongoing concealed corruption in international transactions several instruments of Country Monitoring[27] have been developed since then by the OECD in order to foster and evaluate related national activities in combating foreign corrupt practices.

The Transparency International.

Anti-corruption programmes

According to the amended Klitgaard equation, limitation of monopoly and regulator discretion of individuals and a high degree of transparency through independent oversight by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the media plus public access to reliable information could reduce the problem. Any extrinsic aspects that might reduce morality should be eliminated. Additionally, a country should establish a culture of ethical conduct in society with the government setting the good example in order to enhance the intrinsic morality.

According to Stephan, the moral dimension has an intrinsic and an extrinsic component. The intrinsic component refers to a mentality problem, the extrinsic component to external circumstances like poverty, inadequate remuneration, inappropriate work conditions and inoperable or overcomplicated procedures which demoralize people and let them search for "alternative" solutions.

Degree of corruption = Monopoly + Discretion – Transparency – Morality

The degree of corruption will then be a function of the degree of monopoly and discretion in deciding who should get how much on the one hand and the degree to which this activity is accountable and transparent on the other hand. Still, these equations (which should be understood in a qualitative rather than a quantitative manner) seem to be lacking one aspect: a high degree of monopoly and discretion accompanied by a low degree of transparency does not automatically lead to corruption without any moral weakness or insufficient integrity. Also, low penalties in combination with a low probability of being caught will only lead to corruption if people tend to neglect ethics and moral commitment. The original Klitgaard equation has therefore been amended by C. Stephan[24] into:

Corrupt gain > Penalty × Likelihood of being caught and prosecuted

R. Klitgaard[23] postulates that corruption will occur if the corrupt gain is greater than the penalty multiplied by the likelihood of being caught and prosecuted:

Preventing corruption

Some states do not forbid these forms of corruption.

Favouritism, nepotism and clientelism involve the favouring of not the perpetrator of corruption but someone related to them, such as a friend, family member or member of an association. Examples would include hiring or promoting a family member or staff member to a role they are not qualified for, who belongs to the same political party as you, regardless of merit.

Favoritism, nepotism and clientelism

Abuse of discretion refers to the misuse of one's powers and decision-making facilities. Examples include a judge improperly dismissing a criminal case or a customs official using their discretion to allow a banned substance through a port.

Abuse of discretion

Types of corrupt gains

This includes such behavior as an influential person threatening to go to the media if they do not receive speedy medical treatment (at the expense of other patients), threatening a public official with exposure of their secrets if they do not vote in a particular manner, or demanding money in exchange for continued secrecy.

While bribery is the use of positive inducements for corrupt aims, extortion and blackmail centre around the use of threats. This can be the threat of violence or false imprisonment as well as exposure of an individual's secrets or prior crimes.

Extortion and blackmail

Examples include the misdirection of company funds into "shadow companies" (and then into the pockets of corrupt employees), the skimming of foreign aid money, scams and other corrupt activity.

Embezzlement and theft involve someone with access to funds or assets illegally taking control of them. Fraud involves using deception to convince the owner of funds or assets to give them up to an unauthorized party.

Embezzlement, theft and fraud

Bribery can sometimes form a part of the systemic use of corruption for other ends, for example to perpetrate further corruption. Bribery can make officials more susceptible to blackmail or to extortion.

Bribery involves the improper use of gifts and favours in exchange for personal gain. This is also known as kickbacks or, in the Middle East, as baksheesh. It is the most common form of corruption. The types of favours given are diverse and may include money, gifts, sexual favours, company shares, entertainment, employment and political benefits. The personal gain that is given can be anything from actively giving preferential treatment to having an indiscretion or crime overlooked.[22]


In systemic corruption and grand corruption, multiple methods of corruption are used concurrently with similar aims.[21]



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