Corruption in Argentina : Towards an Institutional Approach book cover
1st Edition

Corruption in Argentina
Towards an Institutional Approach

ISBN 9780367338718
Published August 27, 2019 by Routledge
240 Pages

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Book Description

The book provides an institutional, historical, and sectorial analysis of Argentina’s structural corruption. Looking back over the last 200 years, the book demonstrates that Argentina has historically addressed corruption through ineffective debates between public-private biases or a cultural-criminal approach reinforced by modernization theory, neither of which have helped tackle the problem. Instead, Volosin proposes meaningful institutional reforms to reduce opportunities for corruption and to increase monitoring incentives and capabilities.

The book argues that political economy hindrances for reform are as significant as reform itself and shows that in times of crisis or scandal, the need to move quickly to satisfy citizen demands forces politicians to promote unplanned changes that lack real teeth. Moreover, the machine’s reach over most public and private actors precludes regime-undermining reform, which is precisely what is needed to meaningfully attack entrenched structural corruption. In order to combat serious deficits in the public procurement regime, Volosin recommends a micro-sectorial analysis of government procurement, supported by an innovative human rights strategy to help measure and disclose corruption’s hidden social cost, raise awareness, integrate vulnerability criteria into the fight against corruption, and employ local, regional, and international litigation and monitoring tools to compel the political branches to perform structural change.

This innovative exploration into corruption in Argentina will be of interest to researchers working on public policy, administrative law, anticorruption studies, law and development, and governance both in Argentina, and beyond.

Table of Contents


1. Institutional-Sectorial Approach 

2. Why Argentina? 

3. From State Building to State Capture 

4. From Liberal Democracy to Kleptocracy 

5. Modern Kleptocracy (2003-2015) 

6. Now What? 

7. The Procurement Abyss 

8. A Human Rights Strategy

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Natalia A. Volosin completed her PhD at Yale Law School, USA, and is now Senior Law Clerk in the National Attorney General's Office, Argentina


"Natalia A. Volosin, is a prominent anticorruption campaigner and human rights advocate in Argentina. In her home country, she struggles against the defeatist attitude that corruption is so embedded in the culture that it is fruitless to strive for public integrity. Argentines sometimes claim that they cannot succeed in reducing corruption because, after all, they are all descended from smugglers. Volosin rejects such facile claims, and in this important book, she convincingly argues that legal and institutional change can lead to social change and a less corrupt future. I am pleased to introduce Volosin’s book to the community of scholars, activists, and engaged citizens concerned with the way anticorruption policy and the promotion of human rights can interact to promote good government."Susan Rose-Ackerman Henry R. Luce Professor of Jurisprudence, Emeritus, and Professorial Lecturer, Yale University, USA, and the author of Corruption and Government: Causes, Consequences and Reform (1999, 2nd edition with Bonnie Palifka, 2016).

"Argentina has had a massive corruption problem for two centuries. Today, as in much of the rest of South America, administrative procurement and infrastructural contracts feature over-invoicing, kickbacks, and more. Volosin relentlessly shines bright light on these abuses of the public purse. But even more intrepidly and importantly, she shows how Argentines can beat back corruption. Citizens can regain control, she argues, by linking human rights protection to anticorruption civil and legal actions. This is a bold and important book."Robert I. Rotberg, Harvard Kennedy School, USA, author of The Corruption Cure and editor of Corruption in Latin America

"Against the background of corruption cases in Argentina, Volosin addresses corruption as a structural problem which demands a systematic response. The fight against corruption -Volosin explains- should not be limited to litigation and sanctions; on the contrary, if we are going to prevail in this fight we need to create the appropriate institutional setting and also to modify the incentives' structure that is behind corruption. The book offers an excellent analysis of one of the main problems in the public agenda in many countries in the world."Delia Ferreira Rubio, Chair of Transparency International