Anti-Corruption: The Indirect 'Big-Bang' Approach
In this article, Rothstein argues that in countries where corruption is wide-spread and systemic, incremental institutional changes based on the advice from the international “good governance regime” are unlikely to work. Thus adding such new instituions as 'anti-corruption agency', or increasing transparency in the policy-making process, is unlikley to lead to any systematic decrease in corruption becasue they are based on the assumption that corruption is a 'principle agent problem' - that is to say that corruption exists due to an asymmetry in information, and if only the everyday citizens simply knew what the corrupt policy-makers were doing, they could choose a cleaner alternative. Rothstein argues that in many cases, such an alternative does not exsist and that corruption should be seen more as a 'collective action problem', thus requiring a major "big bang" type of reform. He illustrates an example of such a reform based on the case of 19th century Sweden.
Citation: B. Rothstein, "Anti-Corruption: The Indirect 'Big-Bang' Approach", Review of International Political Economy, 18 (2): 228 — 250, 2011