Corruption - Incentives, Disclosure and Liability

BUS452 Corruption - Incentives, Disclosure and Liability

Autumn 2021

  • Topics

    This course aims at enhancing students' understanding of the phenomenon of corruption, the problem's persistence, its consequences, and the strengths and weaknesses of various strategies to deal with it. It is a course in applied economics with an emphasis on criminal law and moral choice, and students will learn about corruption risks, institutional challenges, legal regulation and the role of compliance systems. Corruption is associated with legal grey zones and challenging conflicts of interest. The topics addressed demand ethical reflection around individual and institutional choices and the broader consequences of alternative strategies. The course is relevant for the private and the public sector, future leaders, advisers, accountants, board members, investigators and researchers alike. The lectures will describe empirical results, economic theory and criminal law with a heavy use of examples and facts about law enforcement problems, at the national and international level.

  • Learning outcome

    By the end of this course, students will be able to


    • distinguish different forms of corruption
    • explain why corruption distorts markets and hinders development
    • describe the landscape of anticorruption strategies and institutions and judge their strengths and weaknesses
    • explain the function of criminal justice systems in controlling corruption and shaping social norms
    • understand the concept of compliance systems in private and public organizations and its norm-generating function



    • gauge corruption risks in a market, government sector or organization
    • describe different players' opportunity to reduce the risk of corruption in various contexts
    • examine the causes of suspected corruption


    General competence

    • understand the ethical dilemmas associated with corruption and become better prepared for confronting them
    • debate the role and ethical responsibility of international players in corruption and anticorruption

  • Teaching

    There will be one lecture a week in the period mid-January to mid-April, altogether 14 lectures. Four of these lectures will be case-based dilemma-training. In general, we place emphasis on 'active learning' and group dialogue.

    It will be possible to follow the course digitally.

  • Credit reduction due to overlap

    There is no obvious overlap with other courses but it fits well together with master courses in the sustainability BUS track, especially 'BUS465 Corporate Crime: Detection and Prevention' and BUS469 'Corporate liability and sustainable markets', and complements well the master courses on public procurement (BUS467) and corporate social responsibility (ETI450). 

  • Assessment

    The final grade will depend on the results of four different tests, three assignments and one home exam, each to be conducted individually (and submitted as an individual); none of them are group work. 

    The four tests and their importance for the grade: 

    1. Assignment on empirical assessment of corruption-related problems and risk prevention (20% of grade). Assignment handed out on 5 February (at the latest). Deadline on 12 February. 

    2. Multiple choice test on facts, terms and theory - digital with short time limit  (20% of grade). This test will held in a short specific time window in the second half of March, during assigned lecture hours. The exact date and time will be announced on the Canvas course website early January. 

    3. Ethics assignment - similar to dilemma training exercises organized as part of the course (20% of grade). Assignment handed out on 9 April at the latest. Deadline on 16. April. 

    4. Three hour home-exam; solving a complex business-related situation and explain the problem (40% of grade) 

    The four tests address different components of the course (one test done means one component completed). All tests will be submitted in Wiseflow. The grade will be calculated automatically as a result of all four results.  

  • Grading Scale

    Grading scale A-F

  • Literature

    Textbook (mandatory): Susan Rose-Ackerman and Bonnie Palifka. 2016. Corruption and Government. Causes, Consequences, and Reform. 2nd edition. Cambridge University Press. 

    We will use this book only and combine with other materials (journal articles, reports and cases), all to be provided on the course website. In contrast to previous years, there will now be a reading package attached to each lecture, and it will be easy to know what readings are necessary for each part of the course. 

    Other relevant books (not mandatory):

    Søreide, Tina. 2016. Corruption and Criminal Justice: Bridging Economic and Legal Perspectives, Edw. Elgar Publishing  (two first chapters will be made available on the course website)

    Lord, Nicholas. 2016. Regulating Corporate Bribery in International Business: Anti-corruption in the UK and Germany. Routledge.


ECTS Credits
Teaching language

Spring. Offered spring 2021.

Course responsible

Professor Tina Søreide, Department of accounting, auditing and law. 

PhD Candidate Kasper Vagle, Department of accounting, auditing and law.