Christopher Carothers, "Corruption Control in Authoritarian Regimes: Lessons from East Asia" (Cambridge UP, 2022)


Political corruption remains … one of the most intriguing and challenging issues in social science research and public policy, perhaps because although it occurs in virtually all polities, its causes, patterns, and consequences often seem unique to each circumstance.

Cadres and Corruption by Xiaobo Lu (2000)

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: Lessons from East Asia, published by Cambridge University Press in 2022, 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. His 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.

Christopher Carothers is a scholar of comparative politics and most recently affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for the Study of Contemporary China as a post-doctoral fellow. Professor Carothers research focuses on authoritarianism and corruption control with a regional focus on East Asia, and has written for Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Politics and Society and the Journal of Democracy among others.

Keith Krueger lectures in the SILC Business School at Shanghai University.

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