This article traces the historical genesis of corruption in two West African countries: Ghana and Nigeria. It argues that corruption in Africa is an institution that emerged in direct response to colonial systems of rule which super-imposed an imported institutional system with different norms and values on an existing institutional landscape, despite the fact that both deeply conflicted and contradicted each other. During decolonization and after independence, corruption, although dysfunctional, fully evolved into an institution that allowed an uneasy cohabitation of colonial and domestic African institutions to grow into a composite, syncretic system facilitated by generalized corruption.
Bibliographical noteThis is an electronic version of an article published in van den Bersselaar, D & Decker, S 2011, '"No longer at ease": corruption as an institution in West Africa', International Journal of Public Administration, vol 34, no. 11, pp. 741-752. International Journal of Public Administration is available online at: http://www.informaworld.com/openurl?genre=article&issn=0190-0692&volume=34&issue=11&spage=741
- institutional theory
- colonial rule