Title: Visiting Assistant Professor. Harvard University, Department of Government.
Summary: The standard image of corruption entails wealthy elites in poor countries easily breaking weak laws to increase their wealth. Yet Latin America, according to empirical evidence, dees that common trend because it is the only region in the world in which corruption tends to reduce income inequality rather than increase it. This seminar explores the many unusual paradoxes of corruption in Latin America and its effect on economic and social variables. Our goal is to understand the peculiar and enigmatic dance that exists between corruption and politics, a topic that is poorly understood and commonly distorted by ideological rhetoric. We will identify the different forms of corruption that exist, the sweeping anti-corruption efforts that are gaining steam in the region, and the often-questionable political motives behind them. We will examine the conditions under which corruption sti es economic growth, eciency, and investment; but also, the environments in which corruption eectively substitutes for inadequate or missing laws to grease the wheels for investment. Overall, we aim to show a precise picture of when and how corruption thrives, and how to properly combat it.