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2023/2024  KAN-CPOLO1905U  Corruption: Causes, Consequences and Policies

English Title
Corruption: Causes, Consequences and Policies

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Mandatory (also offered as elective)
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Semester
Start time of the course Spring
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Study board
Study Board for BSc/MSc i International Business and Politics, MSc
Course coordinator
  • Mogens Kamp Justesen - Department of International Economics, Goverment and Business (EGB)
Main academic disciplines
  • Globalisation and international business
  • Political Science
  • Economics
Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face teaching
Last updated on 07-06-2023

Relevant links

Learning objectives
  • Identify, analyse and evaluate core concepts, theories, and issues in the study of corruption
  • Apply concepts and theories of corruption to identify, analyse, and evaluate the causes and consequence of corruption as well as policy responses to corruption in advanced and emerging economies
  • Identify, analyse, and evaluate causes and consequences of corruption in a comparative perspective.
  • Analyse cases and empirical evidence on corruption using the concepts and theories introduced in the course.
  • Make a clear, coherent, and well-reasoned analysis of issues of corruption based upon concepts and theories introduced in the course, methods from the social sciences, and a comprehensive understanding of the theories and approaches employed on the course
Corruption: Causes, Consequences and Policies:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual exam
Size of written product Max. 10 pages
Assignment type Written assignment
Release of assignment The Assignment is released in Digital Exam (DE) at exam start
Duration 7 days to prepare
Grading scale 7-point grading scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Summer
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
A new exam assignment must be answered. This applies to all students (failed, ill, or otherwise)
Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

Corruption is a pervasive problem in both advanced and emerging economies. Highly profiled cases of political, administrative, and corporate corruption make media headlines on a regular basis, as witnessed in 2018 by Danske Bank’s money laundering scandal. Indeed, cases of grand corruption often involve high-ranking public officials and corporate executives, such as the recent corruption charges levelled against international oil companies Shell and Eni over a deal brokered with Nigerian government officials. In other instances, money and favours are traded for votes and political influence in ways that skew political decision-making processes. Corruption generally involves the abuse and exploitation of entrusted powers so as to secure private gains. This type of corruption permeates many aspects of political systems, interactions between voters and politicians, citizen access to public services, the relations between corporations and governments, as well as the institutional environment that businesses operate within. While corruption is sometimes said to  “grease the wheels of business”, today it is widely recognized that corruption carries significant economic and social costs: It harms investment and economic growth, adversely affects public service provision to economically disadvantaged groups, and shapes the business environment that companies operate within. In spite of this, corruption continues to thrive around the world – in both business and politics. This course considers the causes and consequences of corruption – as well as anti-corruption policies that can be used to tackle the problem. These issues will be addressed by inquiring into political, administrative, and corporate corruption: Why do politicians, public officials, and business actors engage in corruption? What are the economic and political consequences of corruption? And what policies can be devised to reduce and fight corruption? In addressing these questions, we will engage in debates over various types of corruption – such as bribes extorted from citizens by politicians and government officials, kick-backs flowing between multinational corporations and high-ranking government officials, corporate fraud, and state capture. We will also consider issues that are located in a “grey zone”, such rent-seeking, lobbying, and the “revolving door” between business and government. The course will introduce theories and approaches that help us understand and analyse corruption, and it will engage with empirical material and cases of political, administrative, and corporate corruption from around the world that serve to highlight the real-world relevance and impact of corruption – as well as how governments and businesses can fight it.


in relation to Nordic Nine

Corruption: Causes, Consequences and Policies (CCCP) addresses issues of what the causes and consequences of corruption are – at pollical, administrative, and corporate levels – and what policies can be devised address the problem. CCCP directly provides students with a range of transformative values and capabilities relating to the Nordic Nine. CCCP work with student capabilities relating NN4 and NN5 by interrogating how being competitive in business (NN4) can lead to ethical dilemmas (NN5) that conflict with compassion for society at large (NN4) as well as the ways in which leadership strategies and values can be used to overcome these ethical dilemmas (NN5). Concretely, the course does so by considering the ethical dilemmas arising from competition in business that leads some firms to engage in corruption – a clearly unethical practice – and how corporate and political leaders can develop strategies and institutions to prevent corrupt practices arising. In the long run, these decisions made by political and corporate leadership affect the production of current prosperity as well as the political and business environment for producing prosperity for next generations.


NN1: You have deep knowledge placed in a broad context.


NN4: You are competitive in business and compassionate in society.


NN7: You produce prosperity and protect the prosperity of next generations.



Description of the teaching methods
Lectures abd seminars (including elements of blended learning).
Feedback during the teaching period
The course seeks to provide continuous feedback and establish an ongoing dialogue with students. It does so specifically in the following ways:
a. Students are encouraged to use office hours to obtain feedback on questions arising throughout the course. Office hours can be used individually or by groups in prearranged time slots, where bookings can be made by contacting teaching staff in advance.
b. During exercises/workshops, students will get feedback on answers to questions that are made available before class.
c. There will two (2) voluntary multiple choice quizzes made available on CBS Canvas. Feedback will later be given explaining the reasons why a particular answer was correct or incorrect and indicating how/where further material on the topic can be found. Feedback will also relate the answers to readings in the course.
d. There will be one (1) voluntary assignment written individually or in groups. After the voluntary assignment, feedback on the voluntary assignment will be given that will address the strengths and weaknesses of the assignments and the extent to which they address the learning objectives set for the course. Feedback will be given in a class dedicated to that specific purpose. Students are encouraged to form self-study groups and, if academic issues arise, contact staff for support.
Student workload
Preparation time (readings etc.) 120 hours
Lectures etc. 30 hours
Exam (7 day written assignment) 168 hours
Further Information

The course relates closely to Nordic Nine #5 (ethical dilemmas and leadership) and Nordic Nine #7(producing prosperity and protecting prosperity of next generations). 

Expected literature

Suggested readings

  • Fisman, Ray and Miriam Golden (2017). Corruption: What Everyone Needs to Know. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Fisman, Ray and Edward Miguel (2008). Economic Gangsters: Corruption, Violence, and the Poverty of Nations. New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
  • Rose-Ackerman, Susan (2016). Corruption and Government: Causes, Consequences, and Reform 2nd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Rose-Ackerman, Susan (2006, ed.). International Handbook of the Economics of Corruption. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar. 
  • Rothstein, Bo and Aiysha Varraich (2017). Making Sense of Corruption. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Last updated on 07-06-2023