EU Resource Centre

This Anti-Corruption Helpdesk brief was produced in response to a query from the European Commission. The Anti-Corruption Helpdesk is operated by Transparency International and funded by the European Union

Query

Can you provide information on state capture in a seemingly well-run country? Are there many similar situations? What can be done to better understand the issue and to influence the system in the right direction?

Note

This answer draws on a previous Helpdesk answer: "Influence of Interests Groups on Policy-Making."

Content

1. Overview of state capture
2. Addressing state capture
3. References

Summary

State capture is one of the most pervasive forms of corruption, where companies, institutions or powerful individuals use corruption such as the buying of laws, amendments, decrees or sentences, as well as illegal contributions to political parties and candidates, to influence and shape a country’s policy, legal environment and economy to their own interests. The literature on state capture focuses to a great extent on former Soviet countries, but this form of corruption can also be found in other countries where politics and business have very close ties and transparency is lacking, such as in Singapore, South Korea, the United States and other European countries. State capture may also be a problem in countries where the military, ethnic groups or organised criminal groups are powerful and use the state to extract rents.This answer provides an overview of the main issues related to state capture and the reforms necessary to address it. 

Authors

Maíra Martini, Transparency International, tihelpdesk@transparency.org

Date

12/03/2014

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