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Corruption Control in Authoritarian Regimes
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Book description

Corruption is rampant in many authoritarian regimes, leading most observers to assume that autocrats have little incentive or ability to curb government wrongdoing. Corruption Control in Authoritarian Regimes shows that meaningful anti-corruption efforts by nondemocracies are more common and more often successful than is typically understood. Drawing on wide-ranging analysis of authoritarian anti-corruption efforts globally and in-depth case studies of key countries such as China, South Korea and Taiwan over time, Dr. Carothers constructs an original theory of authoritarian corruption control. He disputes views that hold democratic or quasi-democratic institutions as necessary for political governance successes and argues that corruption control in authoritarian regimes often depends on a powerful autocratic reformer having a free hand to enact and enforce measures curbing government wrongdoing. This book advances our understanding of authoritarian governance and durability while also opening up new avenues of inquiry about the politics of corruption control in East Asia and beyond.


‘In this provocative, well-researched and wide-ranging book, Carothers shows that autocratic efforts to control corruption are more common, occur for different reasons, and are more often successful than we think. His analysis of anti-corruption drives by different leaders in Taiwan, South Korea, and China sheds new light on the history and contemporary politics of all three places, and his identification of a distinctly authoritarian anti-corruption model is theoretically path-breaking as well as policy-relevant. This challenge to the conventional wisdom deserves to be read carefully, by scholars and policymakers alike.’

Sheena Chestnut Greitens - University of Texas at Austin

‘Carothers has written an important book challenging the conventional wisdom that there is a necessary connection between authoritarian government and political corruption. Through both a quantitative analysis and historical case studies, he shows that a number of authoritarian regimes, including Xi Jinping's China, have succeeded in reducing levels of corruption. Highly recommended for both China specialists and governance studies.’

Francis Fukuyama - Stanford University

‘Corruption Control in Authoritarian Regimes addresses the classical question of whether dictatorships can curb the predatory behavior of their agents. Carothers’ invaluable comparative study of how three dictatorships in East Asia tackled corruption provides an original and persuasive answer. This book is a major contribution to the literature on corruption in general, and on the political economy of authoritarianism in particular.’

Minxin Pei - Claremont McKenna College

‘Carothers breaks open the black box of authoritarianism to provide much needed insight into the politics of corruption. Whether one wants to learn more about political development and durability in East Asia, or when, how, and why autocrats curb corruption more generally, this book delivers.’

Karrie J. Koesel - University of Notre Dame

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