Corruption in the public sphere is typically defined as the use of public office for private gain, and in addition to undermining public faith in governmental legitimacy, it also carries a significant economic cost in terms of growth and development. Using data from 2001-2002, the World Bank Institute estimated that $1 trillion in bribes is paid every year and that addressing corruption would quadruple income per capita in the long term. Beginning in the 1990s, increased attention was paid to addressing corruption, with the lead primarily taken by governments, including the U.S., and international organizations, including the World Bank and […]

By the numbers at least, there was plenty at stake in Indonesia’s April 9 parliamentary elections. On that single day, more than 200,000 candidates contested almost 20,000 seats in 532 legislatures across the country. But to what extent were these elections a referendum on the sitting government? What do the elections tell us about the July presidential election and Indonesia’s future political landscape? And what do they reveal about the state of democracy in Indonesia? The only significant loser on election day was Partai Demokrat (PD), President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s party, which won approximately 9 percent of the national parliamentary […]

China’s leadership has long vowed it will clean up the country’s bureaucracy and break up government monopolies. But the state apparatus has often seemed unwilling or unable to push through substantive implementation measures—until now. Under Xi Jinping, we are witnessing the most sustained and well-strategized attack on vested interests in at least 15 years. This campaign is unfolding at a pace and on a scale that is surpassing the expectations of most analysts and may yield substantive progress on critical issues, ultimately accelerating the marketization of the world’s second-largest economy. Commitments from senior Chinese officials to eradicate corruption, improve regulatory […]

Early this month, Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina announced he was considering a plan to legalize the production of marijuana and opium poppies in the country. In an email interview, Adriana Beltran, a senior associate for citizen security at the Washington Office on Latin America who specializes in Guatemala, explained how drug legalization might affect levels of violence in Guatemala. WPR: Who are the main actors driving insecurity in Guatemala, and what are their primary activities? Adriana Beltran: Violence in Guatemala comes from many sources. Organized criminal organizations are one of the main drivers of violence. Their members include former […]