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Conceptualizing Political Corruption in a Democracy: A Contested Domain

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The paper examines the relationship between political institutions and corruption, and argues for the need to design control mechanisms that can address political corruption and not necessarily in the form of new institutions, but rather through the effective participation of people. Following a review of definitional debates of political corruption, the paper argues for understanding corruption as a violation of democratic principles, and postulates the existence of an inverse relationship between corruption and democracy. The author then delves into a discussion of various approaches to tackling political corruption including the power sharing approach; the single-agency approach; the presence of anti-corruption agencies; placing constraints on power; and the ‘big-bang’ approach where larger attempts at change are made beyond focus on gradual reforms. In order to be effective in anti-corruption measures, a partnership approach must be devised where civil society, the media and the various institutions and anti-corruption agencies are engaged.

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Revista Estudos de Politica