In the midst of dramatic corruption scandals, South American countries have passed some of the most noteworthy anticorruption legislation in the region’s history. This Article examines the wave of anticorruption reforms and how international law, and in particular anticorruption treaties, has had an important influence on the content of these reforms. Specifically, this Article argues that that the OECD Anti-Bribery Working Group has acted as a political entrepreneur, advocating for specific and meaningful reforms. The influence of international law was critical in ensuring that the reforms adopted during these corruption scandals were robust and that the opportunity presented by these scandals was not lost.
This Article also makes several important contributions to the growing field of anticorruption law. First, it applies a theory of government decision-making during crises to the South American corruption crisis. Drawing on theories of reform during financial crises, this Article explains how corruption crises present unique opportunities for popular reforms to take hold. Second, this Article discusses how political entrepreneurs, including the international bodies responsible for implementing anticorruption treaties, can use international law and global standards to promote meaningful reforms. Third, this Article traces recent anticorruption reforms in multiple South American countries to illustrate these processes in action. This Article illustrates how countries that were members of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention responded systematically differently to corruption crises than non-member countries. Finally, this Article demonstrates how interwoven international and national law have become in the anticorruption field. International law not only has influence by providing global rules, but also by offering credible policy recommendations in times of national crisis.
Rachel Brewster & Andres Ortiz, Never Waste a Crisis: Anticorruption Reforms in South America, 60 Virginia Journal of International Law 531-570 (2020)
Library of Congress Subject Headings
International law, Corruption, Bribery--Law and legislation