To save content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about saving content to .
To save content items to your Kindle, first ensure firstname.lastname@example.org
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
This chapter begins by highlighting that public anger over corruption can have punishing political effects, making curbing it a critical issue for powerholders everywhere. I note that existing scholarship on corruption control focuses heavily on democracies and does not explain under what conditions authoritarian regimes combat and reduce corruption. I discuss the conventional wisdom about how autocrats do not have incentives to curb corruption and how my book challenges this view by showing a surprising number of meaningful anti-corruption efforts by authoritarian regimes. I lay out my argument for when and why authoritarian regimes are most likely to curb corruption, describe this book’s main cases in China, South Korea, and Taiwan, and introduce my novel scoring system for anti-corruption efforts. I then discuss the various theoretical implications of my argument for the broader study of authoritarian politics and governance. Finally, I give a chapter-by-chapter outline of the book to come.
The concluding chapter reviews my findings and considers the contributions this book makes to the study of authoritarian politics and the study of East Asian politics. I also discuss the global trend of rising public demand for clean government and its implications in light of my study’s findings.
Chapter 7 widens the lens of analysis to consider anti-corruption efforts in a diverse set of authoritarian regimes: Cuba, Malaysia, Rwanda, Singapore, and Vietnam. These short case studies are analytically useful as “plausibility probes” to assess the applicability of my theory beyond just the main East Asian cases. They also serve as test cases for alternative explanations, such as that quasi-democratic institutions or collective leadership will help authoritarian regimes to curb corruption. Most, though not all, of the anti-corruption efforts in these authoritarian regimes match my theoretical expectations based on whether autocrats had motivation, discretionary power, and state capacity. I also find further evidence against alternative hypotheses. This chapter is primarily based on secondary-source research.
Chapter 4 assesses corruption control efforts by South Korea’s military-back authoritarian governments between the 1960s and 1980s. I argue that Park Chung-hee was a motivated reformer and had sufficient state capacity at his disposal but initially faced too many constraints on his leadership to curb corruption. Park came to power in a coup in 1961 and, as promised, launched a crackdown on corrupt politicians and businesspeople. However, Park had to contend with quasi-democratic institutions, powerful private economic actors, and other factors that made following through on anti-corruption reforms politically infeasible. This changed after Park consolidated personal power in the early 1970s, especially through the passage of the repressive Yushin constitution in 1972. Park was able to enact the General Administrative Reform (1973–77) to reduce corruption and strengthen South Korea’s developmental state. This chapter also discusses Chun Doo-hwan’s Purification campaign (1980–81), which was a more typical case of superficial anti-corruption efforts by an autocrat motivated by narrowly political considerations.
Chapter 2 covers theory and methodology. In the theory section, I elaborate on the conventional wisdom about authoritarian corruption control, consider several alternative explanations, and then present my argument in full. In the methodology section, I develop my proposed scoring system for anti-corruption efforts, describe how political factors such as discretionary power are assessed, defend my case selection, and give a brief overview of the sources used.
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.
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this to your organisation's collection.