Corruption, Transparency, and E-Government
Herwig Ostermann (University for Health Sciences, Medical Informatics and Technology, Austria) and Roland Staudinger (University for Health Sciences, Medical Informatics and Technology, Austria)
Copyright: © 2008
Regarded from a historical perspective, the appearance of corruption is not a new phenomenon at all. It can be traced back to the ancient civilizations of China, Egypt, Greece, India, Israel, and Rome, which all provide evidence of widespread illegality and corruption. In spite of its long history, corruption increasingly became a political issue in the 1990s: corruption scandals contributed substantially to the resignation of governments in Ecuador, Brazil, India, and Italy and unsettled well-established ruling parties in Japan and Mexico (Lash, 2004; Sen, 1999). According to Sen (1999), “the prevalence of corruption is rightly regarded as one of the major stumbling blocks in the path to successful economic progress, for example in many Asian and African countries” (p. 275). Dudley (2000) estimates that 30% of the money spent annually for international development loans are diverted from productive pursuits because of corruption. Additionally, countries perceived as being corrupt suffer from lower (private) capital inflows, as foreign investors are deterred by corruption and its associated phenomena, which include bureaucratic red tape, mismanagement and the lack of secure property rights (Transparency International (TI), 2004). Overall, the cost of corruption represents 5% of the volume of total global output or more than 1.5 trillion dollars a year according to “rough, but conservative” World Bank estimates (United Nations, 2003c). Table 1 aims to illustrate the scale of political corruption by presenting estimates of the funds allegedly embezzled by 10 notorious (but not necessarily the most corrupt) leaders of the last 20 years.