Most authoritarian regimes are rife with corruption, leading to the widespread view that autocrats have little interest in curbing government wrongdoing. Yet meaningful anti-corruption campaigns by authoritarian regimes are far more common than is widely assumed. In this talk, Christopher Carothers will explain why some nondemocratic leaders combat corruption, how they achieve success, and the broader political and economic consequences of authoritarian corruption control. The talk highlights the case of Chinese president Xi Jinping, who has made rooting out corruption his signature domestic policy since taking power in late 2012. What has Xi’s anti-corruption campaign accomplished? What are its implications for the Chinese Communist Party and for China’s future? Carothers will share his insights into these questions, drawing on his recent book Corruption Control in Authoritarian Regimes: Lessons from East Asia (2022), as well as extensive multilingual research and interviews conducted in China, South Korea, and Taiwan.
This event is jointly sponsored by the Department of Government and the Initiative for U.S.-China Dialogue on Global Issues at Georgetown University.
Christopher Carothers is a political scientist and the author of Corruption Control in Authoritarian Regimes: Lessons from East Asia (2022). He conducts research and writes widely on politics in China, North Korea, South Korea, and Taiwan. Carothers received his Ph.D. in government from Harvard University in 2019 and is currently an associated scholar at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for the Study of Contemporary China.