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Corruption in Ethical issues

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Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales
Universidad de Navarra

Working Paper nº 05/06

The Complexity of Corruption: Nature and Ethical
Suggestions

Reyes Calderón Cuadrado
José Luis Alvarez Arce
Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales
Universidad de Navarra

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The Complexity of Corruption: Nature and Ethical Suggestions
R. Calderón Cuadrado
J.L. Álvarez Arce
Working Paper No. 05/06
May 2005
JEL No. M21, K42.

ABSTRACT
Corruption is a well-established research topic which increasingly attracts interest, as
attested by a growing body of literature. Nevertheless, disagreements persist not only
about how to curve it, but even about its definition, causes and consequences. Such a
lack of consensus reflects the complexity of the problem, a feature which is often cited
but rarely analyzed. This paper aims to fill that gap. In particular, we first address the
nature of corruption’s complexity by offering and analyzing an inventory of “generators
of complexity” compiled from the available literature. Secondly, our paper draws from
the key conclusions of that analysis to shed some light on the complex role played by
corporations on corruption. Finally, we suggest that ethical aspects have to be
considered in order to clarify many complex dilemmas around corruption and illuminate
the corporate role in both domestic and foreign business activity.

Reyes Calderón
Universidad de Navarra
Departamento de Empresa
rcalderon@unav.es

José Luis Alvarez
Universidad de Navarra
Departamento de Economía
jlalvarez@unav.es

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I.- INTRODUCTION
Literature unanimously recognizes that corruption is an ancient (Bardhan, 1997), wide
(TI, 2004) and pervasive (Sheifer and Vishny, 1993) problem1, that continues to be a
factor in every-day live around the world (Persson, 2002), in both developed (Della
Porta and Mény, 1997) and underdeveloped countries (Paldam, 2002; Levin and
Satarov, 2000).
Besides being a widespread phenomenon, corruption also has a long tradition as a field
of academic inquiry (Rose-Ackerman, 1997). Political science, sociology, criminal law
and economics are among the disciplines that contribute to the knowledge of the subject
(Jain, 2001). But some fundamental aspects of the problem –for instance, how
corruption is generated or how it can be successfully fought- are not fully understood
(Clarke and Xu, 2004) and discrepancies remain.
In fact, the surge of research has greatly enhanced the knowledge about simple causeeffect relationships. But, at t...
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Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales
Universidad de Navarra
Working Paper nº 05/06
The Complexity of Corruption: Nature and Ethical
Suggestions
Reyes Calderón Cuadrado
José Luis Alvarez Arce
Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales
Universidad de Navarra
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