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Anticorruption: A Case of “Good, but Could Do Better”

Dan Hough

Keywords: anticorruption; corruption; Germany; transparency

This article utilizes a neoinstitutionalist framework to argue that while Germany’s anticorruption infrastructure remains strong, resilient pathdependent tendencies often make it difficult to reform. The article analyzes three specific areas: the state’s attitude to regulating German business, meeting international anticorruption commitments, and doing justice to the rising transparency agenda. High-profile examples of corruption in multinational businesses prompted significant changes to these companies’ compliance regimes. This critical juncture, however, did not prompt reform across much of the Mittelstand. Germany’s preparedness to fulfill international commitments, meanwhile, has been strongly dependent on correspondence with the internal logic of German politics and law. Where this was not so and in the absence of any critical junctures, change has been infrequent. Finally, the rise of an international transparency agenda has not fit with the logics of German public life, and change has been minimal. Thus, despite a strong anticorruption record, German elites would benefit from proactively thinking about where corruption lurks and what could be done.

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