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NUMERO 20 - 19/10/2016

 International preventive strategies against corruption

The lack of integrity and corruption affect the market and are an issue in Public Procurement. Non-transparent economic interests supported by lobbies and conflicts of interests may influence the legislation, its implementation, competition and, ultimately, the economic growth and competitiveness of the market itself. International scholars highlighted the effects of corruption on the economic performance, and consider them as strong constraints on growth and development. Some data show that bribery behaviours are widespread in Europe, and more significantly  in southern countries. According to Transparency International’s Global Corruption Barometer, perceptions of corruption and faith in government institutions are on the rise in the region, in particular in Greece, Italy and Spain. However, according to part of the literature, there is no linear relationship between corruption and economic growth in regimes rated as "free" by Freedom House. The growth-maximizing level of corruption - in the so called “free countries” - is significantly higher than zero, with corruption being beneficial to economic growth at low levels of incidence, while abnormally high levels of corruption are detrimental, regardless of government type. Last but not least, as clarified, the quality of the institutions in a given country is a major determinant of the effects of corruption. In countries with deficient institutions, corruption has little to no effect on economic growth, because voters cannot punish corrupt politicians, while researchers concluded that in countries with relatively strong democratic institutions, corruption does damage growth, but economic growth itself is a strong guarantor of reducing corruption, because it means that the resource base from which leaders extract rents expands over time. This makes them more eager to hold on to political power and creates a positive feedback loop between economic growth and corruption: high growth reduces corruption, which increases growth. However, corruption is not considered as a criminal offence in most criminal codes around the world, and it also does not have a legal definition in most international treaties. A community of values is growing in the wider context of transnational and international bodies such as the OECD, the UN, and in single Member States, to promote a joint system against corruption, but it still needs clear means of actions. How to ensure integrity, accountability, and transparency of public authorities and economic operators across countries? Different countries around the world have adopted different strategies and preventive measures with controversial effects. One increasingly popular way for some States to prevent bribery committed overseas is adopting measures with extraterritorial implications, or asserting direct extraterritorial jurisdiction in specific instances. Such measures may affect companies on the international market, and clearly show a difference in the strategies of the so called “zero-tolerance” countries compared to the “more tolerant” ones... (continues)


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