SOAS University of London

Centre of Taiwan Studies

Fighting Corruption in Asia’s Young Democracies: Taiwan and Korea Compared

Christian Göbel 240 186 56
Speaker: Prof Christian Göbel

Date: 26 February 2016Time: 1:00 PM

Finishes: 26 February 2016Time: 3:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: KLT

Type of Event: Special Lecture


How successful has anti-corruption in Taiwan and Korea been? Which factors benefit, and which factors hinder the fight against corruption? Comparing the experience of Taiwan and Korea is instructive because they are similar in many respects, but differ in their approaches to anti-corruption. In both countries, the people had high hopes that democratisation would mitigate political corruption, but were disappointed: according to some observers, political corruption has even worsened with the advent of democracy. Based on evidence gathered in several rounds of field research in Taiwan, the lecturer will argue that democratization alone is not enough to initiate anti-corruption programs, but needs to be paired with or followed by a change in ruling parties. He will also illustrates how a fundamental mismatch between the interests of the dominant political actors and the institutions that incentivize corrupt behaviour benefits anti-corruption. Counter-intuitively, this tends not to be the case when political corruption occurs in transient networks of little complexity, but when the new rulers are faced with sophisticated, complex and deeply embedded structures that make access for outsiders difficult.

Speaker's Bio

Christian Göbel is Deputy Head of the Department of East Asian Studies at the University of Vienna and University Professor of Modern China Studies. A political scientist and sinologist by training, his research is concerned with institutional change on both sides of the Taiwan strait. He has published widely on Taiwan’s democratic consolidation, especially on anti-corruption and the impact of local clientelist networks on the quality of government in Taiwan. His recent projects examine the impact of legal reforms on anti-corruption in Taiwan, and the effects of digital technology on local governance in Mainland China. Data derived from expert interviews, expert surveys and web harvesting is processed by means of qualitative content analysis, text statistical methods and inferential statistics.

Organiser: Centre of Taiwan Studies

Contact email: