Thanks for coming and thanks to Elena and Sebastian for organizing the panel and providing this opportunity.Today I am presenting some preliminary findings from my doctoral research on sub-national corruption prosecutions in post-Suharto Indonesia. I do wish to emphasize the preliminary nature of these finding and I welcome your comments – both positive and critical.My paper is quite long – and I apologize to my fellow panellists for that – and in my presentation I have tried to simply things which has resulted in a few modifications.I should probably also say that the signalling element is less developed than I hope – and I’m not entirely sure that it is still a useful concept for me.
Just quickly I will present the puzzle, and very briefly touch upon my analytical and methodological approach.I will then summarize the comparative case analysis, and then outline my a preliminary model of what I think is driving local corruption prosecutions in post-Suharto Indonesia.
In newly democratic countries where the rule of law is relatively weak -- like Indonesia -- there is are fundamental tension between the aspirations of anti-corruption laws and the way the state and politics functions.Thus one can pose the puzzle as a question …
My research is focused on the role that institutions external to local courts, such as political institutions and what Epp refers to as the “legal mobilization support structure”, play in influencing or filtering which corruption incidents are discovered, brought to the attention of the public, and pushed through judicial institutions particularly the police and prosecutors, both which have the authority to investigate corruption in IndonesiaThere are other approaches – including the legal and attitudnal approach – but for reasons that I want go into here, I think this approach is best suited to the Indonesian context and for explaining sub-national variation.The legal approach -- The legal approach focuses on law defining corruption. The main problem with this approach is three-fold:(a) corruption is widespread (indeed, increasing at the sub-national level), corruption laws are standardized nation-wide and yet there is significant sub-national variation in the number of investigations;(b)many of the specific corruption offences were already “on the books”(c) informants consistently state that the merits of the case and the law cannot account for variation case outcomes This suggests that an analytical approach that “goes beyond law” is necessary.The attitudinal approach -- The attitudinal approach focuses on the individual attitudes and policy preferences of judicial agents. This approach would suggest that there are smattering of “reformist” or “doctrinal” judicial officials that account for corruption prosecutions and convictions. The main problem with this approach is two-fold: (a)Judicial officials including judges and prosecutors are career civil servants and many of the same officials from the late Suharto years remain active. (of course attitudes amongst judicial agents could be changing, but this suggests that attitudes are exogenous and unable to account for outcomes themselves)(b) Efforts to “map reformers” have been frustrated the inconsistent decision-making of judicial agents.The institutional approach -- The institutional approach focuses on how specific institutions influence decision-making. Clayton and Gillman distinguish between two types of institutions: those internal to the court and those external to the court. The former includes internal norms, structures and procedures. The main problem with these internal institutions:they are standard nation-wide and therefore its difficult to see how these institutions alone could account for temporal and geographical variationTheories that focus on external institutions include “political regime”, separation of powers model, and legal mobilization support structure:Previous experienceSome existing literatureTheoretically seem best able to account for sub-national variation
Just quickly on methodsThis paper summarizes the theory development aspect of my doctoral research. The research objective of which has been to inductively develop a theory of local corruption prosecutions by analyzing small number of cases using process tracing and comparative methods. In the reminder of my project I hope to formalize the findings and to test them on a large-N database that I am currently developing.In this paper I’ve three main data sources: newspapers to establish a basic chronology of events, key informants interviews to understand motivations and strategy, and legal documents to understand the merits of the cases.
Here’s a map of IndonesiaThe research for this paper was conducted in Central Java for two main reasons: first, it is broadly representative of political and economically more developed Western parts of Indonesia; and more importantly, it is similar to East Java which is one of the two provinces for which I am building the dataset and on which I will test the findings.The four cases – the location of which you can see in the lower map -- have been chosen to ensure variation on the dependent variable. Two that resulted in in corruption prosecutions and convictions; two that did not lead to prosecution.
Okay, moving onto the findings. This table summarizes some of the findings of the comparative case analysis.In all the cases CSOs were critical to identifying corruption and initiating public mobilization and demonstrations. There were some differences in the degree to which CSOs collaborated with local politicians and parties, but this collaboration did not determine case outcomes.The cases also suggest that public mobilization and demonstrations is not itself a sufficient condition for ensuring corruption is prosecuted. This is most clearly seen in the comparison between Cilacap and Semarang. … The case from Temanggung suggests that local-national political alignments – i.e. whether or not the defendant is from a party within the national governing coalition – does not determine whether a case proceeds to court. Although the process tracing of the Semarang and Rembang cases suggests that belonging to the president’s party helps to protect one from local corruption prosecutions.The degree of elite cohesion – i.e. whether the majority of local elites support the corruption prosecutions – seems to be an important factor. This of course can change over time. For example, initially in Rembang 40 of 45 local parliamentarians supported the investigation in the lead-up to the local elections. This changed after the group failed to mobilize the public and many lost their seats in the election.Interesting there was little evidence that KPK monitoring and general threats to take-over had little influence on whether a case proceeded or not.Interestingly in both Temanggung and Cilacap the national government provided authorization to investigate the sitting district head within weeks, but the mechanisms were very different. In Temanggung there was huge public pressure. Whereas in Cilacap behind the scenes lobbying of local members of the democratic party and a former member of the president guard were critical to securing the necessary authorization.Different pathways
So I would like now to offer a possible explanation of what is going on.In the research I’ve focused so far on three main actors: the investigators/prosecutors, the president’s office and the national governing coalition, and local “legal mobilizers” which includes civil society groups and local politicians.I think the interaction of the objectives and constraints of these three actors are critical to determining which incidents of corruption are identified and pushed into the court system.Let me start with the prosecutors. Like most institutions in Indonesia, my findings suggest that their main aim is to use the threat of corruption prosecutions to extort (or to reallocate the rents associated with governing) other branches of government, particularly the local executive. Although difficult to prove conclusive, there was evidence of this in all four cases. However, the prosecutors have limits and are constrained to some degree by social pressure, a sense of appropriateness about how far they can “bend the rules”, and a concern with the protection of their authority over corruption investigations and prosecutions. Indeed, one Informant suggested that the police and prosecutors welcome local mobilization as it increases their bargaining position. However, as public mobilization increases investigators and prosecutors become increasingly reluctant to protect local politicians unless they themselves have protection from Jakarta. The primary objective of the President and the governing coalition is to win elections and maintain the coalition. Winning national elections in post-Suharto Indonesia requires one cultivate an image as a anti-corruption reformer. But it also requires building and maintaining patronage networks done to the local level. Local corruption prosecutions are therefore an opportunity to burnish one’s anti-corruption credentials. But they also result in demands for protection from local clients and are an opportunity to signal the advantages of switching allegiances and joining the president’s party (or coalition). This helps to explain outcomes in Temanggung and Cilacap. In Temanggung the high levels of mobilization meant that the costs of protecting a coalition party member were too high. In contrast, the case in Cilacap was an opportunity to prosecute a member of an opposition party and improve the president’s image in the lead up to the 2009 elections.Local politicians also use corruption investigations and prosecutions for local political reasons – the cases suggested that opposition politicians use corruption accusations to generate negative publicity about incumbents and positive publicity for the opposition politician. In three of my cases there is evidence to suggest that upcoming local elections were critical to motivating participation in mobilization efforts. CSOsplay a critical role in mobilizing public support. Their motivations are mixed. Some groups have clear links to political parties whereas others are more principle-based. Their main objective is to attract public attention to the case and to generate local political support in order to influence the national governing coalition and the local investigators and prosecutors. The broad implications of this model is that local mobilization (by CSOs and local politicians) pushes the decision up to the national level and takes it out of the hands of the hands of the local judicial institutions. The challenge then becomes either convincing Jakarta that the case will tarnish its reputation or that there is political advantage to prosecuting the suspect. Ultimately it does not leave one optimistic about the prospects for corruption prosecutions, particularly so long as the national government remains a weak coalition.
Court Corruption (ECPR Reykjavik 2011)
Courting Corruption A Comparative Case Analysis of Political Signalling in the Prosecution of Corruption in Post-Suharto IndonesiaSamuel ClarkECPR Conference, Reykjavik27 August 2011
Outline• Puzzle• Theoretical approach• Methodological approach• Case examples• Comparative analysis• Preliminary model• Conclusions and next steps
Puzzle• Why is corruption prosecuted and convicted at all given that (a) corruption is so embedded in and “accepted” (amongst the political elite) as the way politics is done in Indonesia; and (b) the judiciary itself is corrupt? – Why has the number of local cases increased? – Why are local corruption cases investigated? – Why are local politicians prosecuted and convicted?
Theoretical approach• Law-centred explanations• Attitudinal-centred explanations• Institutional-centred explanations – Internal rules, norms and procedures – External institutional factors • Political institutions • Legal mobilization support structure
Methodological approach• Mixed methods thesis • Methods – Theory development – Process tracing using qualitative case – Comparative analysis studies • Data sources – Formalization – Newspapers – Theory testing based on large-N empirical test – Interviews – Legal documents
Comparative analysis Temanggung Cilacap Semarang RembangCase outcome Convicted Convicted Dropped “Forgotten” (4 years) (8 years)Legal Civil servants CSOs CSOs CSOsmobilizers Parties Politicians Parties CSOsPublic Very high Medium-Low Medium LowmobilizationLocal elites United United Divided United-DividedNat- Coalition Opposition Coalition CoalitionlocalPoliticalalignmentKPK Yes, monitoring No Yes, monitoring Yes, Monitoringinvolvement
Preliminary model National Govt Coalition • Politicians: Investigator / Legal Mobilizers Judge Prosecutor •CSOs:
Conclusions• Democratization and corruption laws have: – resulted in a transfer of state largesse from the executive to the judiciary – provided an opportunity for Jakarta to intervene in local politics – Provided a normative instrument for civil society• Inductive qualitative and comparative sub- national research can help to adapt and develop theory in non-democratic and new democracy contexts