Alderman Stacks

Corruption, Governance and Institutions

This forum builds on the growing academic and policy interest in corruption. By now, there is consensus amongst international policy circles that corruption is not only a significant barrier to effective governance and the implementation of public programs, but that it undermines the formal and informal institutions that underpin government and the formation of public policies. The Forum will provide students with the capacity to engage contemporary policy debates about the causes and consequences of corruption, as well as to begin the process of formulating their own hypotheses about policy interventions that may reduce its incidence. Invited lectures from representatives of multi-lateral development lending organizations, such as the World Bank, IMF, and Inter-American Development Bank, as well as prosecutors and police officials personally tasked with investigating corruption. As a final project, students in the Forum will be tasked with creating a realistic and rigorous research design for their own anti-corruption intervention.


Daniel Gingerich, Department of Politics

Sandip Sukhtankar, Department of Economics

Sandip Sukhtankar is an Associate Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Virginia, an affiliate of the Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development (BREAD) and the Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), and Lead Academic (India) for the International Growth Centre (IGC). He received his PhD from Harvard University in 2009, and a BA from Swarthmore College (with Highest Honors) in 2000.

Prof Sukhtankar’s research interests are in development economics, political economy, and public economics, with a particular focus on governance and the delivery of public benefits and services. His research has been published in top economics journals such as the American Economic Review, American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, and the Journal of Public Economics. Prof Sukhtankar works with governments across India to design and evaluate projects that improve public service delivery. His work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Omidyar Network, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

At UVA, Professor Sukhtankar teaches Econ 4610 (Economic Development) and Econ 8991 (Research Methods in Economics). He is also Co-Director of UVA-CLEAR (Corruption Lab for Ethics, Accountability, and Rule of Law).

Navigating the Forum

In the first semester (Fall 2019) you take an introductory seminar (FORU 1500): Making Sense of Corruption.” This seminar begins by confronting students with three key questions: What are the types of corruption? How prevalent is corruption across the world? How can corruption be measured? After students have addressed these questions, the course considers the various theoretical approaches to understanding corruption. In this respect, the course elucidates the role of institutional structures and economic factors in explaining the form and incidence of corruption. Next, the course will present students with an overview of the theoretical and empirical work on the consequences of corruption. Finally, it will provide an initial examination of the effectiveness of policies that tackle corruption and improve governance.

Students must take three required courses in Politics, Economics, and Statistics (see below) which will provide them with the necessary tools for evaluating comparative institutional analyses and modern empirical studies. In addition, they must take an elective course in each of the three core issue areas at the heart of contemporary research into corruption: 1) information, accountability, and institutions; 2) the politics and economics of development; and 3) ethics.  The Forum will conclude with a capstone seminar (FORU 2500) entitled, “Making a Better World: Policy Interventions for Good Government.” The seminar will build on the learnings from the earlier coursework and focus on practical anti-corruption efforts. 


Competency Requirements

  • First Writing Requirement (3 credits)
  • Second Writing Requirement (3 credits)
  • World Langugages (0-14 credits)

Core Required Courses (8 credits)

  • FORU 1500 (Fall ’19)
  • FORU 1510 (Spring ’20)
  • FORU 1510 (Fall ’20)
  • FORU 2500 Forum capstone, Spring ’21

Other Required Courses (3 Credits Each)

  • PLCP 1010 (year 1)
  • ECON 2010 (year 1)
  • STAT 2120 (year 1 or Fall 2020)

Category 1: Information, Accountability, and Institutions (3 Credits - 1 course)

  • PLAP 3140 - Mass Media and American Politics
  • PLAP 3270 - Public Opinion and American Democracy
  • PLAP 3310 - American Presidency
  • PLAP 3350 - American Congress
  • PLAP 3610 – Introduction to Public Administration
  • PLCP 3110 – Politics of Western Europe
  • PLCP 3120 – Politics and Political Economy of the Welfare State
  • PLCP 3500 – Comparative Political Behavior
  • MDST 3404 - Democratic Politics in the New Media Environment
  • MDST 3680 – The News Media

Category 2: Politics and Economics of Development (3 Credits - 1 course)

  • PLAD 2500: Politics, Poverty, & Health
  • PLCP 3012 - The Politics of Developing Areas
  • PLCP 3130 - Political Economy of Development
  • PLCP 3500-001 - Grassroots Politics
  • PLCP 3210 – Russian Politics
  • PLCP 3330 – Politics of Latin America
  • PLCP 3410 – Politics of the Middle East and North Africa
  • PLCP 3610 – Chinese Politics
  • PLCP 3630 – Politics in India and Pakistan
  • ECON 3330 - Public Choice
  • GDS 3010 – Global Development, Theories and Case Studies I
  • GDS 3020 - Global Development, Theories and Case Studies II
  • GDS 3010 – Development on the Ground
  • SOC 3470 – Sociology of Development

Category 3: Ethics (3 Credits - 1 course)

  • PHIL 1730 - Introduction to Moral and Political Philosophy
  • PHIL 2060 – Philosophical Problem in Law
  • PHIL 2500 – Environmental Ethics
  • PHIL 2770 - Political Philosophy
  • PHIL 2750 - Democracy
  • PHIL 2850 – Ethics and Epistemology for Beginners
  • RELG 2210 – Religion, Ethics, & Global Environment
  • RELG 2630 – Business, Ethics, and Society
  • RELG 2650 – Theological Bioethics
  • PLIR 3310 – Ethics and Human Rights in World Politics

Category 4 - Science  (Take 2 three-or-more credit classes in the sciences)

  • Astronomy
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Environmental Science
  • Physics