In 2019, Stephen Golub received a research grant from the Knowledge Platform Security and Rule of Law (KPSRL) unit, a Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs-funded policy institute. Through this grant, he has conducted a literature review and related research on whether and how legal empowerment (basically, helping people to know, use and shape the law) constrains corruption.(Golub 2020a)
Here is the core finding: Legal empowerment constrains corruption under many circumstances in many countries. It is far from a panacea, and tends to most impact petty or bureaucratic corruption rather than grand or systemic manifestations (though there are positive exceptions to this rule). But it very arguably has a better track record than most efforts that focus on building up state institutions in the interest of improving governance or combating corruption.
This paper summarizes portions of the KPSRL and related research Stephen Golub has conducted. It by no means details all of the relevant instances of legal empowerment constraining corruption. It instead describes selected examples.
One matter that became clearer as he pursued his research is that it would be useful for this evolving field to distinguish between explicit and implicit versions of legal empowerment. He accordingly does so in the discussion that this resource includes.
Last updated January 30, 2013.
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