THE CAUSES FOR CORRUPTION AND THE EFFECTIVENESS OF ANTI-CORRUPTION STRATEGIES
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The author examines the causes behind corruption and checks why strategies designed to combat corruption fail to produce the expected results. The analysis is based on a review of the extensive body of empirical research into the sources of corruption and a descriptive analysis of the effectiveness of anti-corruption measures. The author offers a definition of corruption and presents the most common anti-corruption programs. He also describes problems widely associated with empirical studies involving corruption. The analysis addresses four issues: the overall level of development; the public sector; political institutions; and limitations to a free market and competition. Contrary to popular belief, not all the measures commonly proposed in the ongoing public debate on corruption will work in practice. For example, political reforms are unlikely to produce the desired results. Anti-corruption reforms should be geared toward limiting the room for corruption by reducing the number of transactions subject to arbitrary decision-making and by delegating authority to the market instead of the government. It is necessary to limit the powers of politicians and officials in areas such as the issuance of business permits and licenses. This should be accompanied by measures designed to limit the government's monopoly in areas such as barriers to market entry, interventionism, economic freedom and competition. One possible reason why anti-corruption measures fail to deal with the real causes behind the problem is that far-reaching economic reforms are unpopular in Poland. Many anti-corruption programs are ineffective because they are often only a 'smoke screen' designed to hide inaction.
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