What is corrupt?

Susan Rose-Ackerman is Henry R. Luce Professor of Law and Political Science, Yale University. She is the author of Corruption and Government: Causes, Consequences and Reform (1999, 2d edition with Bonnie Palifka, 2016), Due Process of Lawmaking: The United States, South Africa, Germany, and the European Union (with Stefanie Egidy and James Fowkes, 2015); From Elections to Democracy: Building Accountable Government in Hungary and Poland (2005); Controlling Environmental Policy: The Limits of Public Law in Germany and the United States (1995); Rethinking the Progressive Agenda: The Reform of the American Regulatory State (1992); and Corruption: A Study in Political Economy (1978). Her next book, Comparative Administrative Law (2nd edition, with Peter Lindseth and Blake Emerson), will be released in 2017. She holds a Ph.D. in economics from Yale University and has held fellowships at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in Palo Alto, at Collegium Budapest, and from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Fulbright Commission. She has published widely in the fields of law, economics, and public policy, and she has edited nine books on aspects of corruption and administrative law. Her research interests include comparative regulatory law and policy, the political economy of corruption, public policy and administrative law, and law and economics.

Abstract: Corruption is a complex and contested concept that raises difficult ethical and legal issues at the borderline between individuals’ public and private roles. What is appropriate or even required in one role may be inappropriate or illegal in another.  Based on the concepts of role and responsibility, this presentation begins with three cases that fit comfortably into the “illegal corruption” category—“grand corruption”, petty corruption, and electoral fraud. They express widely accepted bright lines at the interface between the public power and private wealth. It then discusses ambiguous cases that demand more nuanced legal and policy responses. Responses to both types of behavior must go beyond law enforcement to include the reorganization of government institutions and their relationship to the private sector.

Invited by Tina Søreide

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