Corruption persists as a challenge to the consolidation of Latin American democracies and to their economic development. Contrary to many expectations, policies to reduce the size of government, such as the privatization of state firms, have not proved a cure against corruption. In some cases, economic liberalization seems only to have worsened the problem.

Combating Corruption in Latin America examines the relationship between democratic and market reforms and corruption, including national strategies for its reduction. Authors from across the region, the United States, and Europe, discuss the nature, methods, and historical antecedents of today’s corrupt practices, including issues of institutional design, the role of international actors, and culture.

These chapters raise many important questions. Can corruption in some cases be economically efficient? Does the transition to democracy and free markets increase or reduce opportunities and incentives for corruption? What policy responses are in effect at the local, national, and international levels, and are they likely to be effective? How is a growing business culture across Latin America likely to influence efforts for improved government transparency and efficiency?

Joseph S. Tulchin is director of the Latin American Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Ralph H. Espach is program associate of the Latin American Program.


Joseph S. Tulchin and Ralph H. Espach

PART 1: Theoretical Approaches to Corruption and Anticorruption Policies
1. The New Economics of Corruption: A Survey and Some New Results
Alberto Ades and Rafael Di Tella
2. Structural Corruption and Normative Systems: The Role of Integrity Pacts
Luis Moreno Ocampo
3. Corruption, Accountability, and Democracy in Italy: An Outline
Luca Meldolesi
4. Is Leaner Government Necessarily Cleaner Government?
Susan Rose-Ackerman

Part 2: Theory Meets Reality: Reducing Corruption in Latin America
5. High-Level Political Corruption in Latin America: A ‘Transitional’ Problem
Laurence Whitehead
6. Market Reforms without Transparency
Luigi Manzetti
7. Journalism and Corruption in Brazil
Carlos Eduardo Lins da Silva
8. The Complexity of Anticorruption Policies in Latin America
Edmundo Jarquin and Fernando Carrillo-Flóres

Part 3: View from Three Major Organizations
9. The Role of the World Bank in Combating Corruption
Ibrahim F. I. Shihata
10. Efforts of the U.S. Agency for International Development
Mark L. Schneider
11. Inter-American Development Bank Initiatives
Stephen Quick


“The essays are well written and should interest a wide audience.”—Choice

“It unpacks some of the pervading assumptions concerning corruption.… The text is extremely valuable both because of the different viewpoints within it and the lack of multi-disciplinary analyses on the issue available.”—Emma Harris-Curtis, Journal of International Development

“This book is for anyone who wants to understand more about corruption in Latin America.… Even though the papers and speeches in this book are now almost five years old, they remain timely.”—Michael W. Collier, Latin American Politics and Society