The Economics of Corruption in Portugal

This multidisciplinary project aimed at analysing the economics of the corruption phenomenon in the contemporary Portuguese society.

The research project The Economics of Corruption in Portugal was carried out within the scope of a partnership between CEPESE and the Portuguese Criminal Police. It was a multidisciplinary project, with the members of the research team coming from different scientific areas – Economics, Law, Public Administration, Sociology and Criminal Investigation – with the purpose of scientifically analysing the phenomenon of corruption in the contemporary Portuguese economy and society. 

The project aimed, as its ultimate goal, at creating an eclectic model, including economic, legal, sociological and political variables, and explaining our hypothesis: corruption as an endemic phenomenon to the Portuguese society, which tends to self-perpetuate itself, being at the same time an endogenous variable and an exogenous variable in a systemic context of analysis. The architecture of our model was conditioned by the theory and methodology of the New Institutional Economics. The comprehension of the phenomenon at this level will consequently allow us to indicate eventual reform proposals.

The scope of this goal implied as a work methodology the partial research aiming at identifying the variables within the scope, at first, of each of the different scientific areas. Therefore, the following research lines were developed: (i) the normative procedural inefficiency as an incentive factor, an institutional facilitator of corruption; (ii) the approach of the sociology of public problems to the corruption phenomenon – aiming the identification of public speeches, research of causes, framing processes, as well as the construction proceedings and strategies of corruption as a social and public problem; (iii) the analysis of the trajectory of mobility of Portuguese politicians after serving in high positions in the public administration, aiming at collecting connections between the political and executive power in private and public companies (now owned by former politicians), used mainly to protect monopoly situations, favourable regulations, public-procurement, etc. The study of compared legislation in the European Union countries was also included, namely to understand the reasons for the existing differences in the legal framework.

Coordinator - Cristina de Abreu