Explaining variation in adoption and implementation of anti-corruption policies
Since the negative effects of corruption on the quality of government are becoming more apparent, the anti-corruption industry is expanding. Yet while scholars have developed several anti-corruption policies, political leaders have only partially adopted them. This selective adoption causes those anti-corruption policies to be less effective. Why do political leaders adopt different anti-corruption policies? This research question has not yet been fully answered. The extant literature on this topic suggests that a lack of political will can explain incomplete compliance with anti-corruption policies, and yet it stops short of explaining what encourages or discourages political will. This dissertation assumes that political leaders want to maximize power to govern their people effectively. To fortify their power within national affairs and to respond to international, social, economic, and political circumstances, political leaders develop a governance strategy. When an anti-corruption policy is consistent with their governance strategy, the leaders’ political will to adopt the policy will increase. If not, their political will might decrease. To evaluate the validity of this assertion, this thesis uses the comparative-historical method in an exploration involving three countries: India, Russia, and China. The Indian leaders refuse to build a strong anti-corruption agency that may impede their ability to protect political allies. The Russian leaders avoid introducing reformative anti-corruption policies to keep from losing the support of corrupt elites. The Chinese leaders use anti-corruption policies as a punishment against opponents to increase their power in the party and the power of the party. This dissertation concludes that experts should consider the circumstances which political leaders face before suggesting prescriptions for reducing corruption.