Anticorruption Governance

The Authority of Peer Reviews among States in the Global Governance of Corruption

My PhD was part of the research project ‘No Carrots, No Sticks: How Do Peer Reviews among States Acquire Authority in Global Governance?’ The project was led by Professor Thomas Conzelmann in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (Maastricht University) and funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research. In 2019, my dissertation received the Maastricht University Dissertation Prize.

In the past two decades, the number of international anticorruption agreements has increased considerably. States have generally shown interest in signing these conventions and, as such, have pledged action against graft. Yet, how can we make sure that states do not only sign international anticorruption agreements, but also take action once the ink has dried?

My dissertation has studied peer review among states, as one possible answer to this question. Peer review is a system of mutual intergovernmental evaluations. Experts from member states regularly assess other countries’ compliance with an international anticorruption agreement and give each other recommendations for improvement. My research has focused on the authority of peer reviews, as one precondition for these mechanisms to be taken seriously by states.

My thesis investigated how far and why peer reviews in three international organizations (the Council of Europe, the OECD, and the United Nations) are perceived as authoritative by their intended followers. It takes a mixed-methods approach, combining original survey and interview data.  I conclude that the three anticorruption peer reviews are regarded to be authoritative to different degrees. I then explain this variation with reference to their membership size and composition, their institutional design, and the types of government officials that are involved in these monitoring bodies.

Publications on this topic:

JongenHortense (2021)‘Peer Review and Compliance with International Anti-Corruption Norms: Insights from the OECD Working Group on Bribery,’ Review of International Studies, 1-22. doi:10.1017/S0260210521000097

Carraro, Valentina & Hortense Jongen (2020) ‘Peer Review in Financial Integrity Matters‘, Background paper commissioned by the United Nations High-Level Panel on Financial Accountability, Transparency and Integrity (FACTI) for Achieving the 2030 Agenda.

Carraro, Valentina, Conzelmann Thomas & Hortense Jongen (2019) ‘Fears of Peers? Explaining Peer and Public Shaming in Global Governance’, Cooperation and Conflict, 54 (3), 335-355.

Jongen, Hortense (2018) ‘The Authority of Peer Reviews among States in the Global Governance of Corruption’, Review of International Political Economy, 26 (5), 909-935.

Carraro, Valentina & Hortense Jongen (2018) ‘Leaving the Doors Open or Keeping Them Closed? The Impact of Transparency on the Authority of Peer Reviews in International Organisations’, Global Governance, 24 (4), 615-635.

Jongen, Hortense (2017) Combating Corruption the Soft Way: The Authority of Peer Reviews in the Global Fight against Graft. Maastricht: Maastricht University Press. ISBN: 978 94 6159 734 2.