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Why do anti-corruption laws fail in Central Eastern Europe? A target compliance perspective

Authors

  • Agnes Batory

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Public Policy, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary
      Agnes Batory, Department of Public Policy, Central European University, Nador u. 9, 1051 Budapest, Hungary. Email: batorya@ceu.hu
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Agnes Batory, Department of Public Policy, Central European University, Nador u. 9, 1051 Budapest, Hungary. Email: batorya@ceu.hu

Abstract

The Central Eastern European member states of the European Union have introduced a host of anti-corruption measures in the past two decades, yet corruption is still prevalent. Rather than asking what is wrong with the letter of the law, which has traditionally been the focus of analysis, this article identifies some of the reasons why those whose behavior the law seeks to change fail to act as expected. Drawing on theoretical insights from implementation studies and using Hungary as an illustrative example, the article finds that both incentives and normative judgments are skewed towards non-compliance with anti-bribery laws. The main policy implications are that anti-corruption interventions should pay more attention to raising awareness among target groups, take existing social norms into account, and rely on positive incentives as well as, or rather than, increasing penalties.

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