Book Launch: The Quest for Good Governance

Alina Mungiu-Pippidi will present her new book “The Quest for Good Governance:  How Societies Build Control of Corruption” with Cambridge University Press. It presents a comprehensive empirical theory of governance unifying important disparate contributions in the areas of corruption, quality of government and rule of law:

Tarek al-Tayeb Mohamed Bouazizi was a 27-year-old Tunisian street vendor who set himself on fire on December 17, 2010, in protest of the confiscation of his wares following an accusation by officials that he was trading illegally and evading taxes. That street vendor’s action started the fires of the Tunisian Revolution and then the wider Arab Spring, and he was instantly cast as a hero by the global anticorruption community – after all, then-President Zine El Abidine Ben was a typical corrupt leader with a wife who had built herself an unauthorized villa at the Carthage UNESCO heritage site. But THE state could have argued that since people like Bouazizi had never paid taxes, there were insufficient public resources to offer them much in the way of education or health care. In other words, beyond the paradigm of predator and victim – two parts with ideally cast actors in this particular circumstance – what seems to be the problem in the Tunisian situation is the absence of an agreed social contract between these actors-only such a contract would give development a chance.”

The book received great reviews from leading academics in the field. Larry Diamond wrote that it is “one of the most important books ever written on the most universal governance challenge of our time […] an indispensable work for any scholar, student or policy-maker who wants to understand how societies mobilize and states reform to control corruption.” Michael Johnston called it “an essential book” and Robert Klitgaard commented that “Alina Mungiu-Pippidi uniquely straddles the worlds of theory and practice, adding to both worlds with her comprehensive perspective.

The event is hosted by the European Research Centre for Anti-Corruption and State-Building (ERCAS) in partnership with the Public Management & Governance Research Colloquium.