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Corruption as a Self-Reinforcing ‘Trap’: Implications for Reform Strategy

  • Location
    Amsterdam Law School (Nieuwe Achtergracht 166), building REC A, room IViR A5.24
  • Date and time

    April 04, 2019
    16:00 - 17:15

Corruption is widely believed to be a self-reinforcing phenomenon, in the sense that the incentive to engage in corrupt acts increases as corruption becomes more widespread in the relevant community.

Leading scholars have argued that corruption’s self-fulfilling property implies that incremental anticorruption reforms cannot be effective, and that the only way to escape a high-corruption equilibrium “trap” is through a “big bang” approach.

Matthew Stephenson’s paper demonstrates that this widespread view is mistaken. After surveying the reasons corruption might be self-reinforcing (or in some cases self-limiting), his paper demonstrates that corruption’s self-reinforcing property does not imply the necessity of a “big bang” approach to reform, and indeed may strengthen the case for pursuing sustained, cumulative incremental anticorruption reforms.

Link to paper.