This module is a resource for lecturers   




This section contains suggestions for in-class and pre-class educational exercises, while a post-class assignment for assessing student understanding of the Module is suggested in a separate section.

The exercises in this section are most appropriate for classes of up to 50 students, where students can be easily organized into small groups in which they discuss cases or conduct activities before group representatives provide feedback to the entire class. Although it is possible to have the same small group structure in large classes comprising a few hundred students, it is more challenging and the lecturer might wish to adapt facilitation techniques to ensure sufficient time for group discussions as well as providing feedback to the entire class. The easiest way to deal with the requirement for small group discussions in a large class is to ask students to discuss the issues with the four or five students sitting closest to them. Given time limitations, not all groups will be able to provide feedback in each exercise. It is recommended that the lecturer makes random selections and tries to ensure that all groups get the opportunity to provide feedback at least once during the session. If time permits, the lecturer could facilitate a discussion in plenary after each group has provided feedback.

All exercises in this section are appropriate for both graduate and undergraduate students. However, as students' prior knowledge and exposure to these issues vary widely, decisions about the appropriateness of exercises should be based on their educational and social context. The lecturer is encouraged to relate and connect each exercise to the Key issues of the Module.

It is recommended that lecturers begin building a conducive and sympathetic environment at the start of class and before conducting the very first exercise. This can be done by breaking the ice in a supportive way, by respectfully examining students' starting orientations to corruption, and by demonstrating genuine interest in their perspectives. Once students come to see the lecturer as respectful, genuinely interested in their orientation to the material, and consistent in policing any snide or unsupportive comments by class members, that safe environment will enable effective learning and development.


Exercise 1: Why are corrupt leaders re-elected?

Before they come to class, ask students to research possible explanations for why voters (re)elect corrupt leaders. In class, divide them into groups and ask them to discuss within their group the explanations they identified, including whether - and if so how - the reasons they identified apply in their own country. Subsequently, ask a representative from each group to present to the larger class the results of their group discussion. 

Lecturer guidelines

To guide the students' pre-class research, the lecturer can ask them to answer the following questions:

  • Why are corrupt leaders re-elected?
  • Is voting for a political party you do not endorse, even worth it just to get rid of an existing corrupt regime? If so, why / why not?
  • Have you ever re-elected a corrupt politician? Provide reasons for your answer.
  • What are the main reasons voters elect corrupt leaders?
  • Does it matter that a politician is corrupt if they "get the job done"? Provide reasons for your answer.
  • Why might ethical opposition parties / candidates fail to be elected even in a corrupt regime?

During the small group discussions, if the students are "stuck", the lecturer could stimulate the discussion by offering some of the following explanations for voters' ignorance or forgiveness (discussed in the Key Issues section):

  • Inconsistency-hypothesis : citizens are not always consistent in their voting patterns at different levels of elections
  • Information hypothesis : voters support corrupt politicians when they lack information about a candidate's involvement in corruption upon which they could have acted at the polling booth
  • Parties-candidates hypothesis : differentiation between parties and candidates; voters do not only consider candidates' individual skills and performances but that the party for which they are running might be more important for their voting decision (party loyalty)
  • Trade-off hypothesis : voters expect that in/direct benefits from a politician's actions will be greater than the costs associated with corruption and other illegal activities; citizens would vote for a corrupt but competent politician, rather than for an honest but incompetent politician; perceive a "trade-off" between anti-corruption reforms and other desirable goals, such as increasing local welfare or attracting local investment
  • Loyalty hypothesis : right-wing voters are more loyal and faithful than left-wing voters (e.g. in Spain, France, Hungary)

Overall time: 45-60 minutes


Exercise 2: Debating public funding for political parties

In this exercise, the students have to analyse the different ways of political party financing, to debate their pros and cons, and to convince the audience which is the most preferable way to fund political parties within the context of their own country. This exercise will help the students to develop a critical thinking about the issue of party financing.

Lecturer guidelines

The class should be divided into two groups: A and B. While group A finds arguments for why political parties should receive public funding, group B formulates arguments against this position. The arguments of both groups should refer to the role and functions of political parties in relation to issues of corruption. Both groups have 15 minutes to prepare, and afterwards have 20 minutes to discuss the pro and cons of public funding for political parties. In the remaining time, both groups should also discuss and evaluate the alternative of party financing through private donations.

If time allows, the lecturer may divide the class into three groups. While groups A and B debate on the different ways for political party financing, the students in group C play the role of legislators who have to decide which alternative to apply in their country based on the arguments presented by the other two groups.

The lecturer facilitates the debate by asking the following question:

  • Do parties receive public funding in the country?
  • What are the advantages of political party financing through public funding?
  • Should the country change its rules for political party financing? Why?
  • What are the alternative ways for political party financing?
  • Are they better than receiving public funding? Why?
  • Should private companies and foreign foundations be allowed to donate money to political parties?
  • What are the risks of abuse in each of the alternatives presented by the groups?

Overall time: 50 minutes


Exercise 3: Establishing an "anti-corruption party"

Ask the students to discuss and decide how to establish an anti-corruption party in a democratic and/or an authoritarian regime.

Lecturer guidelines

The lecturer divides the class into groups (the group number depends on the class size and available time). Then, each group shall develop a concept for an anti-corruption party.

The lecturer asks each group to:

  • discuss the ideology of their party
  • define the aims and goals of their party
  • suggest strategies of how to curb corruption in their country
  • discuss the party's organization and funding structures
  • outline how their party is a viable alternative to opposing parties

All groups present their concepts for a new anti-corruption party before the class and determine which "party" gains the most votes from the class as a whole.

Overall time: 50 minutes

Next: Possible class structure
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