Till Hartmann, Hertie School of Governance

Ample empirical evidence suggests that corruption is detrimental to inclusive and equitable growth and affects economies at all stages of development. As a result, large amounts of resources have been directed towards anti-corruption efforts around the word during the past two decades. However, the track record of these interventions has been mixed at best. Recent evaluations show that countries that implemented the reforms suggested by the international anti-corruption community did not achieve more progress in improving control of corruption than countries that had not. With the aim of contributing to the design of more effective anti-corruption policies, this research project entails an in-depth analysis of societies that have historically managed to achieve a governance regime characterized by a low corruption equilibrium. Bridging micro-theoretical and macro- empirical models, the analysis will build on a causal framework that unifies the findings of previous research on the causes of corruption. Furthermore, statistical methods are being combined with comparative case study analysis and process-tracing to answer the main research question of whether the evolution to control of corruption in a society can be attributable to human agency or whether it is a by-product of other factors.