Corruption, Corruption Control and Global Governance

Course Description: 

Elective course, Governance Specialization/Concentration

This interdisciplinary course is an introduction to the study of corruption and corruption control on multiple levels, international, national and local, in the context of (the contested notion of) global governance. The pervasiveness of corruption imposes substantial and widespread societal costs, impeding economic development, limiting the efficiency of public services, and weakening political institutions by undermining trust in government. The term ‘corruption’ is understood in ways that are sometimes culturally specific, and cover a broad range of practices.  The causes and consequences of corruption have been contested in various literatures. The purpose of this course is to subject the topic to systematic study, combining insights from several different disciplinary perspectives, including political science, international relations, economics, sociology, and public management. The course will also explore corruption containment and control strategies by examining examples from international practice and case studies.  Discussions will engage with the role of government, international organisations and civil society actors, questioning the effectiveness and legitimacy of various interventions be that at the international, national or local level. 

Learning Outcomes: 

The most important learning outcome from the course should be the integration of disciplinary perspectives and conceptual frameworks for the analysis of corruption, and familiarity with common control strategies and their applications and limitations in a range of contexts discussed in the classroom.


Seminar participation: 20%.

Participation will be assessed on the basis of seminar attendance, demonstration of engagement with the assigned readings, quality of contributions showing analytical insight.

Seminar presentation: 30%. Seminar presentations, delivered either by individual students or as group presentations (depending on class size) will refer to (but not summarise!) the readings assigned for the class, and utilise and apply them to a particular case or problem the student/s elect/s to discuss. The presentations are intended to start the discussion by providing a practical illustration of the matter at hand. A list of possible presentation topics will be circulated in week 1, but students will have the possibility to identify other interesting cases for discussion, subject to approval from the instructor. A presentation should take no more than 20 minutes (unless some special (interactive) presentation idea would require more time in which case the instructor should be consulted in advance). The main aim of the presentation is to start the discussion; the presenters will therefore be expected to prepare an outline to be distributed and questions for classroom discussion which the presenters will moderate/facilitate. NOTE: Presenters are required to submit their presentation outline to the instructor 3 days in advance of the class, so that any necessary adjustments can be negotiated. Presentations are assessed on the clarity, quality and originality of arguments, the degree to which they generate comments and questions, and time keeping.

c) Final paper: 50%.

A final paper of 3,000 words (all inclusive) is to be submitted by the end of the course. The paper can be a standard research paper (“essay”), for instance addressing one of the questions suggested below for class discussion, or a policy brief. Possible topics include case studies assessing corruption risks in particular situations, reform strategies or measures, or the performance of an agency/CSO in combating corruption. The topic of the paper should be agreed with the course instructor in advance. Please note that the paper and the presentation are separate assignments: the topic of the presentation should not also be the topic of the paper. The paper will be assessed on the basis of the structure and research question; focus; clarity of writing, grammar, style and presentation; quality of analysis/interpretation; the adequacy of background research and the use of evidence.