The concept of state capture in anti-corruption studies

By 9th Apr 2017 May 6th, 2019 No Comments

Shrug. Roll eyes. ‘Captured’. One word says it all, whether we are referring to an overly-flattering review by an art critic, favouritism shown by a supervisor to an employee or a teenager’s infatuation with a new love interest. And so it is in the country from which I write, where the concept of a captured state pervades our daily conversations. ‘Captured’ seems to have all but replaced ‘captivated’, ‘biased’, ‘predisposed’, ‘spellbound’, ‘mesmerised’, ‘enthralled’ and even ‘bewitched’: just a few of the many words we might otherwise use to describe that state of being in which our attention is focused exclusively on one person, pursuit or position, at the expense of the many and despite dissenting opinion.

Surely then, it is time to give the origins of the concept of state capture a closer examination. This article, based on a review of the international anti-corruption literature, offers a back to basics overview of the phenomenon.

Unbundling the broad concept of corruption

Anti-corruption literature distinguishes between different types of corruption with different causes, costs and consequences.

For example, when talking about acts of bribery, it is often ‘petty corruption’ or ‘administrative corruption‘ that comes to mind: unofficial payments made by individuals or businesses at lower levels of government…

Read more here.