From 8-12 July 2015, the Hertie School of Governance (HSoG) and the European Research Centre for Anti-Corruption and State-Building (ERCAS) organized the international conference “Understanding Governance Virtuous Circles: Who Succeeds and Why” within the EU FP 7 ANTICORRP project. The aim of the event – with the biggest names in the international anti-corruption discourse in attendance – was to identify patterns that have led to national success stories (“virtuous circles”) in fighting corruption.
ANTICORRP has identified seven success stories in good governance (Estonia, Chile, Costa Rica, Uruguay, Georgia, Taiwan, Botswana, South Korea) that have led to low levels of corruption in those countries in the past 25 years, but also several great challenges (Russia, Ukraine, South Africa).
The questions asked focused on the causes of institutional change. Why these countries (Botswana and Georgia only partly) managed, and others, which received a lot of assistance and support from the international anticorruption community, did not? Also, why do some societies manage to control extraction of public resources in favour of particular interests, so that it only manifests itself occasionally, as an exception (corruption), while other societies do not and remain systemically corrupt? Is the superior performance of the first group of countries a result of what they do, or of who they are?
In a comparative attempt of the success cases, SAR President Alina Mungiu-Pippidi, who is editing with co-author Michael Johnston a book on these cases, summed up seven provisional conclusions. These can be found here.
A short description of the practical steps taken in this direction by Estonia’s former prime minister, Mart Laar, can be read here.
The conference program as well as the speakers’ presentations can be found here.