Reconceptualising political corruption in democratising societies

Rochman Achwan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Much has been studied about political corruption and its implications for political development. Two perspectives, namely political and political economy, seem to dominate these studies. Both perspectives have provided useful analysis on the causes and impacts of political corruption, but they seem to have neglected the complex institutional contexts of the rise of political corruption in democratising societies. By employing the perspective of organisational institutionalism, this paper explores ways in which complex institutional networks play a pivotal role in bringing about political corruption. This study uses two types of qualitative approaches. The first is a literature study, surveying published academic journal articles and books that are concerned with issues of political corruption; and the second uses unpublished raw data from case studies of political corruption in Indonesia. By using Indonesia as a case in point, this paper shows that the rise and growth of political corruption lies in the complex interplay of interactions among dominant institutions and organisations, including state-owned enterprises, parliaments, and political parties. The curbing of political corruption in any democratising society will depend on the existence of a powerful agency of corruption eradication. Equipped with a powerful authority, as Indonesia has shown, such an agency is capable of bringing corrupt politicians, bureaucrats, and business people before corruption courts. In Indonesia, the Corruption Eradication Commission is a strategic agency able to transform a corrupt state into legal-rational state.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-209
Number of pages9
JournalAsian Social Science
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 30 May 2014


  • Democratic transition
  • Indonesia
  • Organisational institutionalism
  • Political corruption


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