Global Corruption versus National Isolationism

Mon, Mar 2 2020, 12 - 1:15pm
Event Sponsor
CREEES Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies
Encina Commons, Room 123
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Global Corruption versus National Isolationism

This talk addresses the multiple challenges that corruption presents to governments, businesses, academics, and the public. Despite decades of international efforts, national governments’ focus on corruption, and significant investment in anti-corruption capacity-building, systemically corrupt countries remain at least as corrupt as before. Since 2010, the European Union (EU) has launched a number of projects to revisit existing anti-corruption policies. These initiatives explore factors behind the resilience of corruption, attempt to create a new generation of indicators that could monitor change, and take a closer look at corruption within the EU. The tendency is to move away from the view that corruption is associated exclusively with political, social, and economic underdevelopment, location on the world’s periphery, poverty, and restricted human rights. Rather, the global corruption paradigm of the 1990s, based on the definition of corruption as ‘misuse of public office for private gain’, perception-based measurement methodologies, and top-down policy design, has given way to approaches integrating complexity, big data, and context-sensitive policy advice.

Alena Ledeneva is Professor of Politics and Society at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies of University College London in the United Kingdom.

She is an internationally renowned expert on informal governance in Russia and beyond. Her research interests include corruption, informal economy, economic crime, informal practices in corporate governance, and role of networks and patron-client relationships in Russia and around the globe. Her books Russia's Economy of Favours: Blat, Networking, and Informal Exchange (Cambridge University Press, 1998), How Russia Really Works: Informal Practices in the 1990s (Cornell University Press, 2006), and Can Russia Modernize? Sistema, Power Networks and Informal Governance (Cambridge University Press, 2013) have become must-read sources in Russian studies and social sciences.

She received her PhD in Social and Political Theory from Cambridge University (1996) and joined the UCL in 1999. She was a pillar leader of the largest EC funded research project (2012-2017), a Co-PI of the INFORM project in West Balkans (2016-2019) and many others. She is a founder of the UCL FRINGE Centre for the Study of Social and Cultural Complexity and the Global Informality Project ( She is editor-in-chief of the Global Encyclopedia of Informality (UCL Press, 2018) and co-editor of the FRINGE series at the UCL Press.

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