Call for papers - ECPR 2018

The Politics of Corruption and Anti-Corruption around the World

Corruption negatively impacts all areas of individuals’ lives, whether this be a simple transaction of paying one’s bill at the post office, or being able to take one’s child to the doctor. It is therefore important to understand why people sometimes act corruptly and sometimes not, as well as to reflect on what can be done to prevent corruption and reduce its consequences. Previous research offers different theoretical and empirical approaches that have been translated into a number of anti-corruption reforms at the national as well as the international level. Of these, most have been at the institutional level. In light of recent indications of persistent and, in some contexts, worsening corruption trends, the effectiveness of these policies has been questioned by scholars and practitioners alike, some of whom have termed it a policy failure. Understanding what works and does not work in the fight against corruption has thus become "the new frontier for anti-corruption research". This current turn of events, calling into question understandings of corruption and common reform strategies, requires scholars to return to the causal explanations for the emergence of corruption – ranging from institutional settings and individual motives, to culturally influenced norms or values. It also calls for a more systematic analysis of the underlying reasons for adopting anti-corruption policies and initiating reforms. Understanding anti-corruption efforts solely as problem-solving disregards the importance of politics and the symbolic dimension of policy-making, as well as the motives behind it. There is a need for more thorough research on the different factors shaping the anti-corruption discourse and policy prescription, taking into account multi-level governance, power play and local contexts.


This Section is open to different theoretical, empirical and methodological approaches both on the study of causes, consequences and conceptions of corruption and on the analysis of anti-corruption strategies from different regions in the world and levels of governance. Papers on both informal and formal rules targeting corruption are welcome. The aim is to combine alternative perspectives that can be used for innovative analysis and strategic solutions at the micro- (e.g. citizens, political leaders), meso – (e.g. political parties, organizations, institutions) and macro – levels.


The Section will be supported by members of the Interdisciplinary Corruption Research Network. Although the focus lies on political research, it will be open to interdisciplinary approaches, as these have been proven useful due to the complexity of the phenomenon.  


Panels and Papers can focus on:

  • the conceptualization of corruption as well as related informal and/or illegal practices (such as favouritism, tribalism, patronage, clientelism)
  • causes, consequences, mechanisms of corrupt practices corrupt practices of key players such as political leaders or business executives (e.g. “Panama or Paradise Papers”)
  • the cultural context including social norms, values and attitudes
  • formal and (informal) attempts and strategies at curbing corruption (including relevant case studies)
  • the actors of the ‘fight’ against corruption (e.g. NGOs, media)
  • anti-corruption policy evaluation and the politics of anti-corruption


Section Chair: Ina Kubbe, Tel Aviv University

Section Co-chair: Sofia Wickberg, Sciences Po Paris

Section Co-chair: Vit Simral, University of Hradec Králové

Section Co-chair: Michal Vit, Masaryk University

Proposed Panels

  1. Corruption and the Responsibility of (Political) Elites
  2. New Methods for Researching Corruption
  3. The Role of International Organizations in Fighting Corruption
  4. Corruption and Informal Practices in the Middle East
  5. Localization of Anti-Corruption Norms and the National Dynamics of Anti-Corruption
  6. Political Finance and Corruption
  7. Transparency of Lobbying and the Political Process
  8. The Public Interest and Special Interests

Submission Procedure

Researchers are invited to submit a paper abstract (max. 250 words), including the corresponding panel and a short biography, until February 11, 2018. Alternative panel proposals are welcome as well. For further information regarding the submission procedure, please consult the ECPR website.


For panels #1-5, please send your paper abstracts to

Ina Kubbe, Tel Aviv University:

Sofia Wickberg, Sciences Po Paris:


For panels #6-8, please send you paper abstracts to

Vit Simral, University of Hradec Králové: