"No longer at ease": Corruption as an institution in West Africa

Dmitri van den Bersselaar*, Stephanie Decker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)741-752
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Public Administration
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2011


  • Colonial rule
  • Corruption
  • Decolonization
  • Ghana
  • Institutional theory
  • Nigeria


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