Containing Corruption: How to Summarise Five Years of ANTICORRP Research

What factors promote or hinder the development of effective anticorruption policies and impartial government institutions? The ANTICORRP project and the Quality of Government (QoG) invited policy-makers, civil society representatives and academics to a conference in Brussels trying to surmise the final results of the ANTICORRP project. The conference counted among its speakers some of the leading scholars of the ANTICORRP program, with expertise on corruption and quality of government from several European institutions. A key aim of the conference was to foster a dialogue between scholars, experts, policy professionals and international organizations on viable alternatives to improve governments and contain corruption. In this process, scholars faced the difficult task of summarizing five years of intensive anti-corruption research.

In three sessions work package leaders and researchers presented research results from almost all work packages. On the first panel, ANTICORRP principal investigator Monika Bauhr (QOG) kicked off the conference by presenting a broad view over the costs of corruption and what type of measures seemed to be successful in the fight against corruption. Alena Ledeneva (UCL) leader of ANTICORRP Pillar 3, presented her recent work on the Encyclopaedia of Informatlity (Forthcoming with University College London Press) and presented, a new web portal giving different perspectives on informal practices. Policy pillar leader Alina Mungiu-Pippidi (HERTIE) concluded the session by talking about the efforts undertaken in the context of the ANTICORRP project focussed on finding more objective and actionable ways to measure corruption.

After lunch the conference continued with two sessions showcasing the broad perspectives that were offered by the researches within the ANTICORRP project. The first panel focussed on specific policy responses to corruption and evaluations of their effectiveness. Dia Anagnostou (ELIAMEP) spoke about the potential of international and EU law to push for better state regulation. Mihaly Fazekas (BCE) presented an evaluation of EU funds and argued that, if not properly regulated, EU funds can increase rather than decrease corruption. Marcia Grimes (QOG) argued that transparency and civil society action, although important in the fight against corruption, do not automatically lead to more accountability. Victor Lapuente and Nicholas Charron (QOG) presented results from a European-wide quality of government survey that looked at perceptions and experiences of EU citizens with corruption. They made the case for more meritocratic systems within state bureaucracies.

The final panel turned more towards the impact of corruption on different policy fields. Paolo Mancini (UNIPG) presented research on the coverage of corruption in the news media and the impact of corruption on coverage. Andreas Bågenholm (QOG) spoke about how corruption is impacting election results. Salvatore Sberna (SNS) gave a presentation on the link between corruption and organised crime, while Davide Torsello (CEU) spoke about how corruption is expressed in different cultures within public administration. Dieter Zinnbauer (TI) presented research on corruption reporting mechanisms and how they are being used by citizens.

While the day thus held a lot of information, the audience through all three panels did not seize to ask questions and bring in their professional experiences. As such they stimulated an exchange between anti-corruption practitioners and academics. The conference thus did a great job in bringing the results of the ANTICORRP project into the Brussels policymaking community.

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