This module is a resource for lecturers  


Key issues


Corruption affects every society and appears in multiple forms, such as electoral fraud, illegal voter manipulation, influence peddling, patronage, nepotism, embezzlement and kickbacks. Corruption is a complex phenomenon, without a uniform definition. An overview of the different forms and definitions of corruption, as well as its harmful effects across the globe, is available in Module 1 of the E4J University Module Series on Anti-Corruption. For present purposes, it should be noted that the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) refrains from providing one overarching definition of "corruption". Rather, it defines and classifies various acts of corruption as criminal offences, such as bribery and embezzlement (in both the public and private sectors); abuse of functions (i.e. when those performing public functions misuse their power to obtain a benefit); trading in influence; illicit enrichment; and money-laundering. With 186 States parties (as of June 2019), UNCAC is approaching universal adherence, and the different acts of corruption defined by the Convention can be considered internationally accepted. Module 4 and Module 5 of the E4J University Module Series on Anti-Corruption include more detailed discussions on how these various acts of corruption manifest in the public and private sectors, respectively.

In the context of Module 3, it is important to distinguish three main types of political systems or regimes (these terms are used interchangeably in this Module): democratic, hybrid and authoritarian. While these categories are by no means exhaustive, they provide a helpful framework for discussing the causes and effects of corruption in different political structures. The Module provides a brief overview of these three types of political systems, before delving deeper into how corruption can manifest itself differently depending on the political system. When discussing corruption and democracy, the issues of horizontal and vertical accountability as well as voter behaviour are addressed. The Module also discusses the "deep democratization" approach, political parties and political finance. Finally, the Module examines how political institution-building (the strengthening of political institutions) can help to counter corruption, focusing especially on the executive, the legislature, electoral rules and the territorial organization of the State.

The following sections of the module provide an overview of:


Next: Types of political systems
Back to top