A framework for the analysis of corruption

A. W. Goudie, David Stasavage

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The article sets out a framework within which the problem of corruption may be analysed in any specific country. It does not seek to establish the importance of such activity in a general sense, or seek to propose particular economic policy or institutional programmes that should be pursued in order to reduce the impact on the development process. Rather, the objective is to provide a structure for two distinct areas of analysis. Firstly, it considers the investigation of the determinants of corruption, emphasising the environment in which corruption evolves - whether shaped by international, national or specific institutional factors - and the manner in which the different parties to corruption interact and organise themselves in conducting these activities. Secondly, the article focusses on the importance of corruption for economic development by considering the different forms of corruption and the characteristics of these forms that are most critical for economic activity. Here, the distortions that are introduced into on-going economic activity are identified, together with the manner in which these distortions redirect activity in sub-optimal directions. In addition, the nature of the uncertainty attaching to these differing forms of corruption is considered, and especially the degree to which a form may be considered anarchic or structured in character: the former reflecting a system of intense uncertainty, and the latter one of less uncertainty - perhaps, only minimal uncertainty - as a predictable and stable set of relationships between parties is established. Finally, the article reviews the empirical work that has been undertaken in this field. This article, therefore, seeks to identify how detailed case study analysis, focussed on individual countries - and, indeed, on specific institutions or sectors within those countries could valuably complement these existing studies, and provide a framework for those seeking to design policy that is appropriate to any individual circumstance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-159
Number of pages47
JournalCrime, Law and Social Change
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • General Social Sciences
  • Law


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