Course 2018-2019 a.y.


Department of Social and Political Sciences

Course taught in English
Go to class group/s: 31
BIG (3 credits - I sem. - OBS  |  SPS/04)
Course Director:

Classes: 31 (I sem.)
Class 31: XIAOBO LU

Class-group lessons delivered  on campus

Mission & Content Summary


As one of the oldest and most perplexing phenomena in human society, political corruption exists in almost every country in the contemporary world. Social scientists and policy makers have long been baffled by the relationship between corruption and political and economic development and the question of how to successfully contain corruption. Conventional wisdom is that corruption harms rule of law, demoralizes the society, and inhibits economic growth. But it is more often assumed than tested and proven. This is a survey course which covers a range of theories on corruption from political science, economics, and sociology. It amis at introducing to students a variety of theories, methods, and cases in corruption studies.


Much has been written about political corruption. Yet many questions still remain. In this class, we address five sets of broad questions that are most common in the discourse on corruption and governance:

  1. Definition of Corruption: Is the concept of corruption universal? Is it possible to find a commonly accepted and applicable definition of corruption? Should there be a universal standard of “good governance”?
  2. Causes of Corruption: What are the possible causes of political corruption in general? What are the causes of corruption in different of types of regimes? Is there a general theory of corruption?
  3. Patterns of Corruption: What are the various patterns of political corruption in countries of different political and economic development? How does it occur? In what form?
  4. Consequences of Corruption: How does corruption affect social and economic development? Why has corruption inhibited economic growth and democratization in some countries but not others? Can corruption be “efficient” and “positive”?
  5. Control of Corruption: Can corruption be controlled? If so, how? What are the most effective ways to reduce, contain, and eliminate corruption?

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO)


At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Learn about the conceptulations, causes, conseuqences, patterns, and control of political corruption.
  • Apply the theories in making own analysis of political corruption realted to its causes and consequences.
  • Consider political corruption as both a real-life practical problem and a research topic that requires rigerous anaylsis.


At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Get familiar with one of the most challenging problems in political economic governance and form a foundation for further inquiries in both theory and practice going forward.
  • One major expectation is that students can use this class as a starting point for more training in public policy, management, and politcal economics. 

Teaching methods

  • Face-to-face lectures


As this is an intensive 12-lecture course, most of the time there are face-to-face lecturing by the instructor. However, the reading materials and in-class discussions are also important and expected. The instructor leaves some time for questions and answers during the lecture or at the end of each lecture. Students are encouraged to interact with the instructor who wecomes such interactions.

Assessment methods

  Continuous assessment Partial exams General exam
  • Individual assignment (report, exercise, presentation, project work etc.)
  • Active class participation (virtual, attendance)


This course require student attandence and participation which is part of the final assessment (30%) and a final essay (take-home, 2000 words) on choices of topic provided by the instructor (70%). Students are given Pass or Fail based on the assessment.


Non-attending students have to take a final exam. Students are given Pass or Fail based on the assessment.

Teaching materials


All required readings are on the class site on Bboard.

Last change 04/06/2018 07:30