Corruption—rent-seeking behaviour in which a few benefit at the expense of the many—is widespread and deeply entrenched throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. This article examines this issue geographically. It opens with a discussion of the causes and consequences of corruption, noting its multiple forms and levels of severity and the contexts in which it tends to thrive. Second, the article focuses on MENA corruption in particular, emphasizing the deleterious role of oil exports (the “resource curse”) and offering a series of vignettes of corruption in different countries. Third, it offers an empirical analysis, using data from Transparency International, which illustrates the relative severity of corruption in the area and its relationship to several economic and political variables. The conclusion highlights the principal findings and notes that although anti-corruption campaigns usually fail, other measures can be taken.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.