Effects of corruption Essay
Effects of corruption
in philosophical, theological, or moral discussions, corruption is spiritual or moral impurity or deviation from an ideal. Corruption may include many activities including bribery and embezzlement. Government, or ‘political’, corruption occurs when an office-holder or other governmental employee acts in an official capacity for personal gain. Corruption has been a major problem in our country Kenya, affecting individuals all over the country. Most problems facing the country can be associated with corruption, starting with unemployment; which has seen the rate of jobless Kenyans go up each and every year, tribal wars which saw the country almost to flames in the year 2007, crimes, which are as a result of the increased rate of unemployment, national debts e.g. the Anglo-leasing which has seen the government spend billions trying to repay the debt.
The study has two objectives;
First, it aims to review the essential elements of the various approaches that have been used to analyse the causes and effects of corruption.
Second, it aims to explore how research has been applied in developing countries. This is a question of what policy recommendations have been made, and what might be learned from the anti-corruption campaigns and policies applied in specific countries.
3. Research questions
1. To what extent has corruption penetrated into our society today
2. How has corruption affected our way of lives today
3. Which population (the youth or the old) are mostly affected by corruption
4. Which characters in our society influence corruption
5. What is the major contributor to high levels of corruption in Kenya today
6. What role can the government play to bring an end or reduction to corruption
7. How can Kenyans ensure that corruption is eradicated from our system
8. What are the benefits of living in a corruption-free country
4. /Literature review
Corruption has recently become a major issue in foreign aid policies. However, behind the screens it has always been there, referred to as the “c-word”. The major concern for international aid policy through the last five decades is to improve the living conditions for the poor in the poorest countries of the world. This endeavour requires a close co-operation with the national governments in poor countries. Generally speaking, however, the governments in poor countries are also the most corrupt. This is one of the few clear empirical results of recent research on corruption. The level of GDP per capita holds most of the explanatory power of the various corruption indicators. Consequently, if donors want to minimise the risk of foreign aid being contaminated by corruption, the poorest countries should be avoided. This would, however, make aid policy rather pointless.
This is the basic dilemma corruption raises for aid policy. Unlike international business most development aid organisations and international finance institutions have the lion’s share of their activities located in highly corrupt countries. The international community in general and some donor countries in particular are, however, increasingly willing to fight corruption. Within the “good governance” strategies of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund initiatives to curb corruption are given priority. OECD and the UNDP have also developed particular anti-corruption programmes to assist governments in tackling the problem. Furthermore, several bilateral development agencies have placed anti-corruption efforts high on their development agenda.
Whether this is a desirable change in focus of aid policy, and, hence, whether it is possible to find workable policy instruments to fight corruption, remains to be explored. Corruption is a problem that mainly arises in the interaction between government and the market economy where the government itself must be considered endogenous. Therefore it is complex to handle from a theoretical point of view. This difficulty is underlined by the fact that data are difficult to gather, and, if available, data are often “soft”, unreliable and masked. Moreover, from an aid organisation’s point of view the issue of anti-corruption may become diplomatically delicate since at least some of the 7 stakeholders who are handling the aid instruments in the partner countries, are likely to be part of the problem.
5. Research methodology
The methods employed were the use of observation questionnaire and interview. Observation involved watching and listening to what people are doing in groups and also what they are watching when in cyber cafes or at home using televisions and also observing what the reaction is when the topic of corruption is introduced. The questionnaire involved a series of questions directed to parents or guardians and another directed to youths and children. They were aimed at finding out how parents and youth view the aspect of corruption The parents or guardians questionnaire consisted of sections which were; Closed ended questions (which required a YES or NO answer)
Open ended questions (respondent free to answer in his/her own words) The youths and children’s questionnaire consisted of
Closed ended questions (which required a YES or NO answer)
The other method used was interviewing where there was a one on one with the respondent and the questions to be asked would revolve the topic of corruption that is the accessibility moral social and health effects.
6. Data collection
Ideally the data applied in research on corruption should be based on direct and first-hand observations of corrupt transactions made by unbiased observers who are familiar with the rules and routines in the sector under scrutiny. More aggregate numbers should then be constructed on the basis of such observations. This kind of empirical studies hardly exist, however, and for obvious reasons we cannot expect many more in the near future. Most of the time we are dealing with complex transactions taking place in large hierarchies to which independent researchers normally have no access, nor the appropriate social networks for picking up and checking data. The information is indirect and, until recently, rather unsystematic. One of the major difficulties in corruption research has consequently been the lack of a solid empirical basis.
The observational basis of corruption research
In countries with honest judiciaries, the most reliable information about corruption is court cases. Courts are spending huge resources on establishing which transactions have in fact taken place, and to judge whether they have actually been corrupt. The problem with court cases is that they are few, compared to the underlying number of corrupt acts, that they cannot be used neither as an indicator of sector occurrences nor of general frequency. For the same reasons court data are difficult to use for cross-country comparisons. They are likely to tell more about political priorities or the efficiency of judiciaries and police than about the underlying problem of corruption. Such data on corruption has nevertheless been collected on an international basis and some efforts have been made to make them comparable across countries, for instance by the Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Division of the United Nations Office in Vienna (United Nations 1999).
However, the fact that Singapore and Hong Kong have exceptionally high conviction rates confirms the suspicion that data from courts cases on corruption, when aggregated, are telling more about judiciary efficiency than about corruption frequencies12. They do, nevertheless, bring interesting and often very detailed descriptions of the social mechanisms involved. In addition to the court cases, the police and other investigation units are producing considerable information about instances of corrupt transactions, also when the information may not be precise enough to win court cases or to fire employees. The quality of this information is highly variable, ranging from cases almost ready to bring to court, to mere rumours.13 In some cases this information may be sufficiently extensive to construct risk patterns for entire sectors, but in most cases it will be biased in the sense that active, strongly motivated police units will tend to exaggerate the number and the danger of the crooks they are hunting.
Investigative journalists are in many ways in a better position to collect data than social scientists. The public exposure of journalists gives them a larger supply of informants. They will often have to handle the data carefully, since good stories demand the naming of actors with the obvious possibility of harming innocent individuals. The risk of being sued necessitates caution. Like the police, journalists possess much surplus information that they cannot use. This means that stories from the media are important sources of information also for social science research on corruption when it comes to establishing facts14. Media are also important subjects of research on corruption, mainly for political scientists. Some forms of corruption may be considered as a kind of political scandals, and the political effects may often be quite similar to the publication of private misbehaviour of politicians or their families.
Media are not only important in bringing forward facts about corruption, but also for forming public and scientific perceptions of corruption. Moreover, the media are to a large extent setting the stage for determining the likely political consequences of revealed corruption scandals. Like court decisions, media sources have their evident biases when comparing corrupt transactions across countries and across time. Firstly, the media will tend to give priority to the more spectacular stories, making the less dramatic but more common practices of corruption less attention. Secondly, and more important, the number of stories on corruption that are reaching the public are not likely to be determined only by how many stories that exist out there, but is also a question of press freedom, of the market for corruption stories, the journalistic professionalism and resources available, and various kinds of journalistic bandwagon effects.
The bias created is likely to be serious also when it comes to empirical research because of the need to rely on second hand information. This makes it almost impossible to determine whether the perception of increasing corruption levels worldwide is based on facts or not, because the main sources used are likely to be strongly influenced by shifts in media attention and public opinion. As far as we know, unlike the case of criminal convictions for corruption, no international counting of media stories has been attempted. It is clear that the actual occurrences of discovered and provable corrupt acts discovered through courts, media and the few instances of participatory research are too few in most countries to constitute a representative sample of the underlying corrupt transactions. To create patterns and analyses, researchers have to bring in information that is relatively unreliable, and then try to process it and make explicit the large and hardly determinable margins of error in the field.
Or alternatively, researchers can decide to let the uncertain and imprecise information about patterns pass, and consider it as not amenable to serious research. Until recently, the last strategy has been the dominant one, but since the mid-1990s a number of quantitative studies have been published based upon quite subjective and commercial indexes of aggregate country levels of corruption. The first and most influential one was Mauro (1995) who brought corruption into the renewed field of economic growth studies among economists. It was an econometric study of the effects of country corruption level on the growth rate, and the results indicated, as discussed in chapter 7.4, that there was indeed a significant negative impact. The study was based on data on general country corruption levels. What kind of data had Mauro been able to find?
Corruption measured: The construction of corruption indicators Mauro (1995) used mainly data from a commercial organisation, Business International (BI), which in 1980 made an extensive survey of a large number of commercial and political risk factors, including corruption, for 52 countries, among these several developing countries. Business International had an international network of correspondents (journalists, country specialists, and international businesspeople) who were asked about whether and to what extent business transactions in the country in question involved corruption or questionable payments.
The perceived degree of corruption involved in these transactions was ranked on a scale from 0 to 10. BI also made efforts to make the rankings across correspondents consistent. In fact, Business International was not the only organisation that tried to monitor where international businesses have to expect the most extensive or frequent bribe demands. Quite a number of both profit and non-profit organisations constructed similar indexes. Today it is Transparency International’s “Corruption Perception Index” (CPI) that is the most well known and most used both in research and in the public debate.
The Corruption Perception Index (CPI)
The CPI is the most comprehensive quantitative indicator of cross-country corruption available, where each single country is recognisable. It is compiled by a team of researchers at Göttingen University, headed by Johann Lambsdorff. The CPI assesses the degree to which public officials and politicians are believed to accept bribes, take illicit payment in public procurement, embezzle public funds, and commit similar offences. The index ranks countries on a scale from 10 to zero, according to the perceived level of corruption. A score of 10 represents a reputedly totally honest country, while a zero indicates that the country is perceived as completely corrupt15. The 1999 corruption perception index includes 99 countries. It is based on 17 different polls and surveys conducted by 10 independent organisations, not by TI itself16. None of these surveys are dealing with corruption only, but they cover a number of issues of relevance for development and business confidence.
TI, however, is using only the data on corruption. Hence, the Transparency International index is not based upon information from the organisation’s own experts but is constructed as a weighted average of (for 1999) 17 different indexes from 10 different organisations. The majority of these indexes are based on fairly vague and general questions about the level or frequency of corruption perceived either by experts or business managers. About half are based upon expert opinions within built checks to ensure cross-country consistency. The other half is mainly based on questionnaires sent to middle and high-level management to either international or local firms. Only one organisation (i.e., International Working Group, developing the International Crime Victim Survey) asks the respondents directly about their own experience of corruption.
Thus, the CPI is mainly a “poll of polls”, reflecting the impressions of business people and risk analysts who have been surveyed in a variety of ways17. According to TI, none of these sources combines a sufficiently large sampling frame with a convincing methodology to produce reliable comparative assessments. Hence, TI has opted for a composite index as the most statistically robust means of measuring perceptions of corruption. Each of the other surveys uses different sampling frames and varying methodologies. The definition of the concept corruption also varies between the surveys. Thus, we may question whether the surveys cover the same phenomenon (see Lambdsorff, 1999b). Furthermore, all the surveys ask for the extent the phenomenon, although the meaning of “extent” is not obvious. Is it the frequency of corrupt transactions or the amount of bribes paid or money embezzled?
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