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PCI Anticorruption strategy – creating horizontal checks

In this video Dr Pallavi Roy introduces the PCI anticorruption strategy, "creating horizontal checks".

In this video Dr Pallavi Roy introduces the PCI anticorruption strategy, creating horizontal checks with which we need to create incentives for those in society who do not wish to be corrupt to start following rules.

In many situations, you may find that a lot of people are violating rules. Some might be violating rules for “reasonable reasons”, some might be violating rules for “unreasonable reasons. When you have this kind of a context where nobody has either the interest or is in a position to be rule following, then we have a problem on our hands.

To reduce corruption in this context, we must first differentiate between the reasonable people who reasonably break rules or for reasonable reasons break rules, and those who for unreasonable reasons, break rules. Now, why might you be breaking rules for unreasonable reasons? This is essentially because maybe you are very well-connected politically to the leaders of the land, you are actually making more in terms of resources than you should be in that particular sector. You can break the rules and get away with it, and these are very definitely unreasonable reasons.

But on the other hand, there might be actors within the same activity within the same sector, who do not want to be corrupt, who aren’t actually inclined to be corrupt. But given the environment that they find themselves in they actually have to behave in corrupt ways. If everybody and the powerful players around them are also behaving in corrupt ways, then for their survival, they have to be corrupt, and that becomes a huge problem. It is important to distinguish between the unreasonable actors and the reasonable actors.

The reason why we need to construct or design anti-corruption differently is to see whether we can actually grow or strengthen the number of actors who are actually infringing the rules for some very reasonable reasons. We call this strategy creating effective horizontal checks. We have to create incentives that help all those people who are not inclined to be corrupt to follow rules.

If you can design incentives in a way that helps these actors be more rule following, you are able to make things easier for these actors who don’t want to be corrupt and you make that possible or you help them become more rule following, you’ve grown the number of people who become rule following. As a result, that sector becomes more rule following. You have then increased the number of people who now want to be rule following in their own self-interest and can actually then start monitoring and ticking off other actors who are not being rule following.

So this is in a sense, a two step process. One is when you’re looking at people who are infringing rules for very reasonable reasons, you’re providing them incentives to be rule following. Once these numbers grow, all of these actors who are now following rules in their own self-interest will then start checking on their peers and make sure that these peers are also following rules. So this is important to distinguish in a sector where initially everybody has the incentive to violate rules. Then you start picking out on those actors who do not want to violate will give them the incentives to start following rules, and in this way, again, incrementally, you make the sector more rule following.

Recommended reading.

Pages 29-34 describe the SOAS ACE anti-corruption strategy Strategy B. Creating effective horizontal checks and provide case studies where this strategy is applied.

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Making Anti-Corruption Effective

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