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Corruption research

Phone hacking, sleaze and cash for questions — corruption in our systems of governance and public bodies has eroded faith in politicians and other senior public figures over recent years. The UK sees its political class as untrustworthy, to the detriment of our economic prosperity, life satisfaction and levels of political engagement.

New research at The University of Nottingham seeks to tackle this perception of poor governance, as part of a European Commission research into the factors which promote or hinder the development of effective anti-corruption policies. The 7.9m euros Anticorruption Policies Revisited: Global Trends and European Responses to the Challenges of Corruption project will investigate the causes of corruption; how corruption can be measured; and the impact of corruption on different aspects of human wellbeing. The project spans 21 research partners across 16 EU countries, and is led by the Quality of Government Institute in Gothenburg, Sweden. Paul Heywood, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Sir Francis Hill Professor of European Politics at The University of Nottingham, will lead one of the UK-based partners. With colleagues from the University of Birmingham, he will focus on:

– corruption and good governance from both a global and continental perspective
– accountability and transparency in both civil society and administrative responses, as well as accountability mechanisms within policy performance
– translating the research into evidence-based policy.

The five-year project will launch in Gothenburg in May, when Professor Heywood will spend a week at the Quality of Government Institute as a visiting professor. The research will include surveys, interviews and documentary analysis, spanning the fields of political science, economics, sociology, law and history and leading to working papers and policy documents.

“Corruption is one of the biggest issues facing governments around the world today,” said Professor Heywood. “The Arab Spring was driven by citizen discontent with corrupt governments, and public perception of corruption is one of the biggest challenges for the Chinese government.

“It’s a problem in both developed and developing countries, damaging the economy, diverting resources, affecting confidence and trust in politicians — people see no value and no point in being engaged in the political process.

“Not only will this project examine the causes, measurement and analysis of corruption, it will translate the research into concrete, evidence-based policy suitable for use across governments and public bodies worldwide.”


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