Unpacking the “Black Box” of “Political Will”: A Focus on Government’s Anti-Corruption Efforts

Stream: Panel 56 - Public Policy & Social Justice: Responding to Corruption 
Date: Tuesday, 27 September 2016
Time: 4.00 pm – 5.30 pm


Political will and the lack of it is often cited as the reason for government success or failure. This is not different in good governance and government’s anti-corruption efforts. However it is surprisingly understudied and not well understood in the existing scholarship, with some scholars tagging it as the ‘slipperiest concept in the policy lexicon’. I aim to fill this gap in scholarship in two parts. First I conceptualize political will into five main indicators including: Origin of the initiative; comprehension and extent of analysis; participation and support; credible sanctions; and resource dedication and sustenance. Second, I test how this conceptualization of political will help to assess its effect on government’s anti-corruption efforts using empirical evidence and applying the model to two countries in the Asian Region: Singapore and Bangladesh. Using anti-corruption assessment indicators such as Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI), Political and Risk Consultancy’s (PERC) annual survey on corruption and World Bank’s Worldwide Governance Indicators (WGI-Control of Corruption; and Government Effectiveness), I argue that political will of government’s anti-corruption efforts has positive anti-corruption outcomes. We show that Singapore’s political will to fight corruption has placed it among top clean countries on various global corruption league tables; whereas Bangladesh is ranked among the worst countries due to lack of political will to fight corruption. However I make no claim that my analysis comprehensive enough and that they are suggestive rather than definitive, and that there is the need for more empirical research by applying/adapting the model for substantiation.


Samuel Ankamah (Presenter), Griffith University
Samuel is PhD Candidate at the School of Government and International Relations, Griffith Universty. In 2010 Samuel completed a bachelor's degree in Development Studies, before moving on to complete his Masters in Public Manangement. Samuel's PhD research focuses on how Anticorruption Agencies interact with society in holding public officials to account in three Australian States. Specifically Samuel is interested in how independenc, mandate, capacity; culture, attitudes and practices; and perceptions influence interactions