Locating the role of civil society in anti-corruption
A qualitative comparative analysis of 30 democracies
Keywords:civil society, corruption, autocratization, consolidated democracies, QCA
The paper explores the configuration of corruption in democracies and simultaneously looks at whether civil society figures in this configuration. It does so via a fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis of 30 democracies in the third wave of autocratization. Results of the analysis suggest that the presence of high perceived corruption is accounted for by the absence of a robust civil society combined with the absence of wide and independent public deliberation and the presence of high political exclusion. On the other hand, the absence of high perceived corruption is explained by the presence of wide and independent public deliberation combined with the absence of high political exclusion. It is particularly in the latter case that civil society’s role, whether in its presence or absence, is elusive. The paper contributes to the discussion on the contextual dependencies of corruption and the conditionality of civil society’s anti-corruption role. Prospects for future research on the conditional and possibly indirect anti-corruption role of civil society in democracies are put forward.
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