Persistent systemic corruption: why democratisation and economic liberalisation have failed to undo an old evil. A six-country analysis

Why have the third wave of democratisation and concurrent economic liberalisation, contrary to many expectations, failed to lower global corruption? This article comparatively assesses systemic corruption and other features of personal rule in Argentina, Venezuela, Indonesia, the Philippines, Kenya, and Zambia. It finds that systemic corruption in these countries persists despite political transitions and economic liberalisation, and that democratisation as the most important factor has not been “deep” enough to decisively influence the level of corruption. Moreover, systemic corruption does not work in isolation but goes hand-in-hand with clientelism, another feature of personal rule.