Knowledge Transfer

A Look at Corruption and Anti-corruption Performance in Three Cities

A special workshop entitled “Perceptions of Corruption and Anti-corruption Performance: Indicators and Measurements” was held on27 February at City University of Hong Kong. Organised by the Global China Studies project of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences together with the Department of Public Policy, the event was part of the research on “A tale of three cities: public attitudes towards corruption and anti-corruption”, which was backed by the University Grants Committee’s Knowledge Transfer Earmarked Fund in 2016.

Scholars from Hong Kong, Taipei and mainland China, who specialise in studies of corruption and integrity management, presented insightful research papers. The topics dealt with everything from public perceptions and the effectiveness of current policies to government performance in this area and the role of the ICAC in preventing corruption in Hong Kong.

A collaborative research initiative led by Professor Ting GONG of the Department of Public Policy conducted large-scale surveys in three cities – Hong Kong, Taipei and Changsha - in 2015-2016 to investigate how the perceived effectiveness of anti-corruption measures affects public confidence in the governing authorities. The results of the survey showed that Hong Kong respondents had the lowest level of confidence among the three cities. However, the perceived level of corruption was also lowest in Hong Kong.

In contrast, respondents in Taipei and Changsha saw higher levels of corruption, but at the same time had more confidence in government efforts to root it out. These paradoxical findings prompted the researchers to engage in an in-depth analysis of the different perceptions and the factors contributing to them. The research identified two major variables which help to explain this. One was people’s view about the general pervasiveness of corruption in their city. The other was their perception of the local government’s anti-corruption endeavours.

The empirical research confirmed the importance of perceived government performance in fostering anti-corruption confidence.

Professor Ian SCOTT, Adjunct Professor in the Department of Public Policy, argued that perceptions of effectiveness can be seen from two angles: the capacity of the anticorruption agency to control corruption, and perceived capacity of the agency to control the political and economic environment from which corruption arises. Other presentations explored the common features of corrupt behaviour, efforts to combat it, and the extent to which current anti-corruption campaigns boost trust in the authorities in China.

The participants at the workshop also explored the possibilities for further research collaboration.