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What is the opposite of corruption?

Journal article
Authors Bo Rothstein
Published in Third World Quarterly
Volume 35
Issue 5
Pages 737-752
ISSN 0143-6597
Publisher Routledge
Publication year 2014
Published at Department of Political Science
Pages 737-752
Language en
Keywords good governance, impartiality, public goods, state capacity, universalism, conceptual framework, corruption, governance approach, political conflict, political system, violence
Subject categories Political Science


Corruption has turned out to be difficult to define and what should be counted as the opposite to corruption remains widely disputed. If the goal for a post-conflict society is not only to become democratic and prevent a return to violence but also to reduce systemic corruption, we need to know what it is that should be fought and how the opposite to systemic corruption should be conceptualised. To define the opposite to corruption, choices have to be made along four conceptual dimensions. These are universalism vs relativism, uni- vs multidimensionality, normative vs empirical and whether the definition should relate to political procedures or policy substance. As a result of this conceptual analysis, it is argued, a universal, one-dimensional, normative and procedural definition should be preferred. The suggested definition is that of impartiality as the basic norm for the implementation of laws and policies. This conceptual analysis ends with a discussion of why such a norm has historically and in the contemporary world been hard to achieve and why it is especially problematic in post-conflict societies. © 2014 © 2014 Southseries Inc.,

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