Political Economy and Anti-Corruption

Lily Lin 10/08/2018

At the beginning of Chapter 5 in ITMC, the books demonstrates the two leading institutional argument about the causes of development: market-led development and state-led development. It then extends the argument and discusses the role of other institutions play in development, such as trust, religion, and other value systems. The author suggests that social capital, advantages brought by social relationships, can generate trust. Such trust later will be essential to creating major corporations that can increase productivity. (1)

In the article “Mexico’s Government Is Blocking Its Own Anti-Corruption Drive”, published in last December on the New York Times, author Ahmed points out that Mexico’s landmark anti-corruption drive refuses to investigate on some of the biggest cases in the nation, because afraid of actually finding individuals responsible for corrupt acts. The anti-corruption drive was inaugurated by President Nieto under the pressure of his own administration and personal conflicts of interest, but the president for both the citizen commission and the overall anti-corruption system, Jacqueline Peschard said, “I’ve been given all the responsibility, with none of the power.” There are battles in Congress now, trying to uncover such events. Some commission members are going to sue the states that have not set up their anti-corruption systems. (2)

How can one country build trust between its government and citizens? How would the increase of trust have an impact on the country’s economic development?

The event above is only one of the examples where Mexico’s government is losing trust between its citizens. An institution where its own members doubt the system, cannot convince the  public to trust in them. A well-functioned and well-enforced anti-corruption drive in Mexico which can provide transparent information and divided power can be possible to win trust among the citizens. Without this trust, it is unlikely for a large workforce willing to devote into public services. It will also raise social problems. Trust also promotes economic development that leads to better social institutions, which can increase trust. This mutually reinforcing process is essential.


(1) J. Tyler Dickovick and Jonathan Eastwood. Comparative Politics, ITMC. (New York: Oxford University Press 2016).

(2) Azam Ahmed. “Mexico’s Government Is Blocking Its Own Anti-Corruption Drive.” The New York Times. (Dec. 2, 2017).

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