Policy Failure and Corruption: Federal Belgium as an Institutional Vulnerability?

West European Politics, 29 (5): 999-1017, 2006

33 Pages Posted: 14 Feb 2009 Last revised: 26 Nov 2016

See all articles by Jeroen Maesschalck

Jeroen Maesschalck

KU Leuven - Faculty of Law

Steven Van de Walle

KU Leuven - Department of Political Science; Erasmus University Rotterdam - Department of Public Administration

Date Written: January 1, 2006

Abstract

Throughout the 1990s, corruption cases, policy failure and scandals tarnished Belgium's international reputation. In this article, we analyze the effect of federalism and political culture on corruption and policy failures and their impact on the likelihood of such occurrences becoming scandals. Survey material suggests that there are little differences between French- and Dutch-speakers in the perception and tolerance of corruption. We then list a number of variables that can explain corruption in Belgium and argue that the independent effect of federalism is very limited. Next we demonstrate that federalism has played a much more significant role in lowering the risk of policy failure, while at the same time creating a few new vulnerabilities. Finally, we argue that the regional political elites do not frequently engage in policy learning and frequently put forward federalism as the main solution to the avoidance of policy failure and scandal. In this sense, regional political elites do not seize the opportunity to policy experimentation and transfer that is generally listed as one of the main virtues of operating a federal system of government.

Keywords: Belgium, corruption, federalism

JEL Classification: H11, H77

Suggested Citation

Maesschalck, Jeroen and Van de Walle, Steven, Policy Failure and Corruption: Federal Belgium as an Institutional Vulnerability? (January 1, 2006). West European Politics, 29 (5): 999-1017, 2006, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=962887

Jeroen Maesschalck

KU Leuven - Faculty of Law ( email )

Tiensestraat 41
Leuven, B-3000
Belgium

Steven Van de Walle (Contact Author)

KU Leuven - Department of Political Science ( email )

Public Management Institute
Van Evenstraat 2A
B-3000 Leuven
Belgium
+32 16 323614 (Phone)
+32 16 323611 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.publicmanagementinstitute.be

Erasmus University Rotterdam - Department of Public Administration ( email )

3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands
0031 10 408 2518 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.stevenvandewalle.eu

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