Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)




Sharan Grewal

Committee Members

Rani Mullen

Monica Seger


Italy has long been considered an outlier in terms of corruption; the country is consistently regarded as notably more corrupt than its Western European counterparts. Continued high levels of corruption perception persist despite efforts on the part of the Italian government to stem corrupt exchanges. Beginning in 1973, cases evidencing widespread political and bureaucratic corruption have come to the fore in Italy. This research examines the historical roots of corruption in Italy and contemporary corruption perception surveys to examine the effectiveness of Legge 190/2012, a piece of Italian legislation which made many notable steps towards fighting corrupt exchanges in the country. Corruption perception data reveals that while the law may have contributed to a decrease in certain corrupt practices, corruption perception remains high and a disproportionately southern phenomenon. The failure of this law to reduce overall citizen perception of corruption rests in its focus on individual, incentive-based reforms rather than comprehensive efforts to change how citizens interact with politics, bureaucracy, and the judiciary. Furthermore a comparison with Germany and Japan demonstrates how countries similar to Italy have seen the positive impact of structural anti-corruption reform, suggesting that for Italy to join its peers in relatively low corruption perception reforms targeting historical loci of corruption, namely political parties and the judiciary, is necessary.

On-Campus Access Only