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From 'Institutional' to 'Structural' Corruption: Rethinking Accountability in a World of Public-Private Partnerships

68 Pages Posted: 22 Dec 2013  

Irma Sandoval-Ballesteros

Harvard University - Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics

Date Written: December 20, 2013

Abstract

This paper invites us to radically rethink the concept of accountability and to design new solutions to the problem of corruption. It identifies and critiques both the “public-sector” and the “modernizationist” biases which characterize dominant approaches to the study of corruption. It maintains that corruption is a matter of political domination, structural impunity (especially for the private sector) and social disempowerment. The fundamental remedy, therefore, lies in significant doses of civic and economic democracy. The paper offers a new “structural” approach to corruption as well as a new “democratic-expansive” understanding of transparency. These approaches are particularly important in the wake of the generalization of Public-Private Partnerships throughout the developing world. The important achievements in recent decades with regard to the transparency and oversight of government entities are being eclipsed by the opacity under which the private sector carries out its new public responsibilities. The heuristic devices developed in this paper will help to better understand how the new “structural pluralism” of public authority presents unique challenges for accountability, transparency and democracy.

Keywords: Accountability, transparency, democracy, institutional corruption, structural corruption, Mexico

Suggested Citation

Sandoval-Ballesteros, Irma, From 'Institutional' to 'Structural' Corruption: Rethinking Accountability in a World of Public-Private Partnerships (December 20, 2013). Edmond J. Safra Working Paper No. 33. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2370576 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2370576

Irma Sandoval-Ballesteros (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics ( email )

124 Mount Auburn Street
Suite 520N
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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