Myths and Realities About Corruption in Public Administration and its Discourse in Greece

Written by Effi Lambropoulou on .

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handmoneyIn Greece, public administration receives as a rule the strongest criticism by the Media, NGOs, economy and international organisations as being too slow, too big, inefficient and expensive for what it offers; but above all for being the basic impediment to transparency and hence the development of the country, unlike the private economy which usually presents itself as the main ‘victim’ of bureaucracy and ‘corruption’.[1]  

From January 2006 until December 2008 Panteion University, in cooperation with the National School of Public Administration, participated in an EU research study, led by the University of Konstanz/Germany, concerning the construction of corruption in certain European countries.[2] Public administration was among the additional groups examined in the national research due to its special interest.[3] The main findings of the qualitative research will only be briefly outlined here (Part III).

Before that, the article will give a general overview of social and historical facts concerning the development of the administrative organization in Greece, in order the context of the discourse for this group to be easier understood (Part II.1), while causes of public concern about corruption will be described, along with legal and institutional changes which have been introduced in Greece to promote transparency (Part II.2)

For the present paper, newer reports of national audit bodies and services, as well as of international organisations were taken into account (2009-11). In addition, hard data were also analysed (Part II).

The attempt of the article is to challenge some myths and dispute everyday theories reproduced and expanded even more during the last few years, inside and outside Greece, because of the economic crisis. The self representation of the Public Administration group in the official reports of its numerous control units and in relation to the issue in question will be drawn and the views of others as depicted in the reports of TI Hellas, the national Ombudsman, and in Press publications. Text analysis and interview analysis were the methods used by the research in the context of Grounded theory.

The paper considers the dominant contemporary concept of the phenomenon, as expressed by international organisations to be strongly affected by a certain model of political, social and economic organisation, exercising a tremendous impact on views of bureaucrats, experts, politicians, entrepreneurs and the common people. Justifications of corruption grounded on national tradition, culture, geographic area, transition in market economy etc. are usual arguments which the present article rejects, since they seem oversimplified if not reproducing stereotypes and finally have no effect, as it is experienced by the numerous but ‘inefficient’ measures carried out by the Greek state and law enforcement authorities. To these justifications have largely contributed several native specialists (sociologists, political and media scientists), whose starting point of analysis were the differences of Greek social system and not the similarities with other developed countries in Western Europe. So, the starting viewpoint gives the meaning of the issues under examination. We understand other things when we examine, for example, deviance as one of the products of change in power relations and different as value crisis. Corruption is neither an issue of morals nor of embedded attitudes; it is the result of serious social or organisational problems. It is unlikely that such problems can be ‘solved’ without social changes (public participation, fair and stable taxation system and law enforcement etc.). Otherwise the suggestions will be nothing more than an attempt to reduce the impact of the problem.


II. The Contextual Background of the Empirical Research and Public Administration’s Discourse

II.1. Between Tradition and Modernisation: The Development of the Administrative Organization in Greece

The machinery of the New Greek state during the beginning of the 19th century followed the napoleontian administration model and the European civil law, constituted both the most successful modus operandi of the European state administration.

The administrative system was defined by some distinctive characteristics, such as the concentration of power, the hierarchy, the liberal principle of the equality towards the law, etc.[4] These typical administrative principles of the Greek public administration are not different from the other Western European countries, at least, as regards their external characteristics.

During the 19th century the newly-established states of the European South (i.e. Italy), as well as in the Balkans (i.e. Bulgaria), followed similar processes to introduce the then modern models of state organisation, with the bourgeoisie being the leading actor. However, the similarities between the ‘old’ states of northern and western Europe and the ‘new’ states of southern Europe and the Balkans in public administration couldn’t compensate for some informal characteristics of the political life and its organisation[5] in the latter. A gap was noticed between the new state structures and the assimilation of the political mechanisms to these structures, not only in Greece, but also in the rest of southern Europe. This is attributed by several Greek analysts to the imposition of modern political and administrative institutions on pre-modern societies.[6]

The attempts for reform of the state organisation culminated in the movement of 1904. This brought to the fore new political powers (mainly the liberal party under the leadership of Eleftherios Venizelos) that afterwards tried to reorganise and introduce innovations in public administration.[7]

Nevertheless, these efforts were only partially successful. Firstly, because of several coinciding events at the time, leaving these reforms being continuously interrupted and secondly, due to strong resistance by certain political and professional powers, as occurs nowadays. Over the years, and more specifically, after the Second World War and the Greek Civil War (1946-49) which followed, the basic concern of the state was rather the exclusion of the Leftists and its supporters, real or supposed, from power and the maintenance of the dominant conservative ideology than the establishment of a ‘professional’ state machine. Thus, a large part of the society considered to be ‘enemies’ of the state were excluded from the state bureaucracy.

The turning point in the Greek public administration was the beginning of the 1980s, when the centre-left Party (PASOK) came into power (October 1981). It was then, that size and structure of the public administration were reformed. During that period democratic governance was consolidated and main state organisations were democratised (i.e. the police and the military). But at the same time, the public sector began to increase in size. People previously excluded as Leftists or sympathisers and now supporting the new government(s) entered public administration. In addition, because of the absence of strong industry and in general a reliable private sector in Greece for safeguarding employment, the state began exercising a social policy for low and middle-low class people voting for the party with their employment in public sector (e.g. employment of children of large families who have either a certificate of secondary education or university diploma). This ‘convenient’ but catastrophic practice was followed more or less by the next governments. Then, the employees’ unions strengthened their power and proved significant factors in reforming (or not), public administration. It was a populist policy introduced by the PASOK government the party intervention and the state support of unionism. In the course of time certain interests were consolidated around unions and it is known that the lower levels of organisations regard whatever reform, apart from subsidies, allowances and benefits with suspicion, reserve and reluctance.[8] Another major trend of that period was decentralisation. Powers and competences of the central state were delegated to the regions and local administration.[9]

Decentralisation continued for more than fifteen years, while from the nineties the privatisation of public utilities, liberalisation of banking etc. has begun. These changes in the public sector resulted from fiscal problems, as well as from the prevailing neoliberal perception about the size of the state. This neoliberal view became more and more fashionable and intensified by the economic and social convergence process of the EU member states.

Two groups of factors had a strong impact on the efforts of the Greek economic and administrative system to converge with those in other member states (mainly in northern and western Europe): The first were external factors, such as several programmes which worked in favour of the economic and political convergence among the EU member states, while the second was the internal demand of the Greek society for modernisation, especially after the mid-nineties.

Although reforms took place in the economy, public administration, political parties, the media etc.,  remained without a clear national concept and a plan, restricted to specific and time defined targets (i.e. EMU, Olympic Games), missing a strategy for development.[10]

During the 90’s – mainly after the return of PASOK to power – the concept of administrative reform climaxed. This is because ministers stayed in their positions for longer time periods and regulations concerning administrative reforms diminished.[11] Furthermore, during this period, important steps towards a more transparent public administration were carried out. A concrete regulatory framework for joining the civil service was established, internal administrative procedures were determined (i.e. the code of administrative procedure), a law on collective bargaining was issued, and certain measures towards serving the citizen more efficiently were taken. Moreover, some other measures entailed targeted training of civil servants and the introduction of ‘e-government’. Although these measures were introduced during the middle of the 90’s, their implementation was intensified after 2000.


II.2. Crime and Punishment

It was in the early 1990s when citizen’s trust in politics and justice was poisoned, firstly by the commitment to trial of the then Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou and ministers of his government. He was connected with a US$132-200 million embezzlement scandal[12] of a private bank, and accused of facilitating the embezzlement by ordering state corporations to transfer their holdings to this bank, where the interest was allegedly skimmed off to benefit his government party. Secondly, and in relation to the case, by the repeated statements of political leaders about legal issues of the case(s) long before the decision of the ad hoc Special Court (Article 86 of the Constitution), ordered by the Greek parliament, with the support of New Democracy, the centre-right party, and the Left’s Coalition. These attitudes created the impression of a justice lacking independence and impartiality.[13] In Parliament, the Prime Minister A. Papandreou accepted the political responsibility for the case and the consequences for the bank but not the criminal charges. The process started in 11 March 1991 and finished in 16 January 1992. The Prime Minister was acquitted of all the charges after a 7-6 vote in the trial. What is more, in the course of time it became clear that the involvement and accusation of the Prime Minister for passive bribery was orchestrated by the leader of the main opposition party for party political reasons.

After this event, corruption increasingly attracted the attention of the media, becoming an issue of public concern, and has resulted in political intervention and the creation of new legislation in Greece. These national developments have also been accelerated by a global movement involving major international organisations, which has affected countries all around the world. The developments were justified in the new priorities in global politics, i.e. the expansion of international trade and the assumed negative consequences of corruption for development. Hence the issue became a central aspect of good governance initiatives (Transparency International, etc.). Until then, ‘corruption’ was not an issue of much discussion in Greece.

Several institutional changes have been gradually introduced in Greece to promote transparency, such as the Police Service of Internal Affairs/DEY (September 1999), the General Inspector of Public Administration/GIPA (November 2002), an extension of the Ombudsman’s responsibilities (January 2003), and many others. Yet, the more the country improved its normative and administrative instruments to prevent corruption, the lower its score on the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI). In particular, Greece’s score on the CPI went down from 5.05 to 5.01 in the period from 1988-1996 and plummeted further to 4.3, where it remained between 2003 and 2005, slightly increasing after 2006. In 2009, the score fell dramatically to 3.8, giving Greece the seventy-first position out of 180 countries, and in 2011 even deeper to 3.4 and the eightieth position out of 183 countries.[14]

The often-used argument about the low scores concerns the “non enforcement” and/or the “inefficient” implementation of measures and improvements. It is however not based on any data research or proof and therefore it is the most popular everyday theory’. Furthermore, Justice Statistics show that the number of relevant offences has been very low and for this reason they were registered until 1988 in the Statistics without further details, under the title of the specific chapter of criminal law: “crimes against duties and service”.[15] The term ‘corruption’ in Greek legal texts can be found, occasionally, in the disciplinary law of authorities responsible for crime control, i.e. Disciplinary Law of Police Personnel whereby activities indicating corruption of character, ruined character and quality as persons (Presidential Decree 22/1996, Art. 9[1i])[16] and penal offences relating to the fulfilment of the duties of the police officers which result in their dismissal from the agency (Art. 9 [1f, g]). This content of corruption is the reason why the term ‘corruption’ was not used until recently in court decisions and findings of the investigations of public prosecutors,[17] since it is regarded to be loaded with moral(istic) elements not helping justice to enforce the law, contrary to the offences concerning duties and service included in the criminal law and the rest special criminal, administrative and disciplinary legislation. Greece is a civil law country and law must be written concretely by describing only pure facts. Law implementation cannot be based on a general ethical, emotional, political or cultural understanding. All these have to be previously taken into account in legislation and law making, but not in law enforcement.

Since 1988 the offences in the Justice Statistics have been divided into three categories: bribery of judges, violation of home/shelter asylum (by the Police), and other.[18] The first two categories range in absolute numbers from 0 to 4, with one exception in 1998, when 20 convictions of justice’s personnel are recorded representing 30.3% of the total number of offences against duties and service that year (66).

Corruption was firstly used in Greek law with the ratification of international conventions against corruption, and in particular the Civil Law Convention on Corruption,[19] whereby is adopted the Conventions’ definition (Law 2957/2001, Art. 2):

'Corruption' means requesting, offering, giving or accepting, directly or indirectly, a bribe or any other undue advantage or prospect thereof, which distorts the proper performance of any duty or behaviour required of the recipient of the bribe, the undue advantage or the prospect thereof.

Thereafter, ‘corruption’ was introduced by the Law 3251/2004 to the group of most serious crimes (i.e. terrorism, trafficking in human beings, participation in a criminal organization, fraud including that affecting the financial interests of the Communities etc.) of the Penal Code. The Law imported the Council’s Framework Decision 2002/584/JHA on the European arrest warrant,[20] and foresees its application in “crimes of corruption and bribery” (Art. 10 [2g]), without verification of the double criminality of the act (Art. 10 [2]). Consequently, for corruption too a significant institution of state of law has been abolished, such as the claim to double criminality of the act, namely without the requirement that the specific act is punished by the national law.[21] The abolishment of the double criminality in combination with the importation of terms, such as corruption in the Greek legal system, caused serious objections because of its vagueness.[22] After all, it is obvious that the legal instruments for fighting corruption in Greece became more and more robust.

What is more, already in December 2003 a Law extended (3213/2003) the authorities of the Police Service of Internal Affairs to investigate charges of bribery and extortion of all civil servants (Arts. 235, 236, 385 Greek Penal Code). So, DEY registers not only data for accusations and arrests of police officers, but also of public servants. In January 2003, another Law (3094) extended the authority of the Ombudsman to investigate corruption allegations in public service departments. In October 2006 the responsibilities of GIPA’s Office were expanded too empowering it with interrogatory authority.

Those of GIPA’s Office refer exclusively to disciplinary sentences, are presented per case and are confidential, because they include personal data and many are either under adjudication or an appeal is pending. The part of those collected by the Police is probably (nothing relevant is referred to) included in Justice Statistics, which I have already briefly described. This is because DEY is not responsible for keeping data on those convicted, but only on those cases referred to it, complaints and investigations in order to clear the case and forward it to the prosecutor. S/he can either bring a charge if the case is cleared and preliminary investigation is not needed, or shelve the case due to lack of evidence. The socio-demographic data of the offenders are not separately presented in Justice Statistics because of the low numbers of the convictions for these crimes. According to DEY’s Reports[23] from 25 October 1999-31 December 2010 the Service dealt with 6,613 cases[24] of which 5,775 (87.7%) referred to police personnel, 436 (6.6%) to public servants, 222 (3.3%) to both groups for aiding and abetting, and 180 (2.7%) to private individuals. The Service examined the last group of cases as delinquent behavior was initially referred either to police personnel or civil servants, but from the investigation the complaint was not confirmed.

The Service brought a charge against 30.3% (2,007) of the 6,613 cases; 8.4% (169) of them were charges against civil servants. In 8.6% (569) of the total number of the cases (6,613) the accused were caught red-handed, of which 12.4% (71) were civil servants. As far as it is known, from the development of the charges, because not all cases have been adjudicated and closed after revocation in the court of appeal, 438 (21.8%) of the prosecuted persons (2,007) have been acquitted and 546 (27.2%) have been convicted. 37.2% (163) of the acquitted and 12.8 % (70) of the convicted were public servants. 67 of the convicted public servants were sentenced with imprisonment up to five years and three over five years during the period 1999-2010.

The reports of the DEY do not and cannot include any further information about the disciplinary development of the civil servants’ cases. The internal disciplinary councils along with the GIPA and Inspectors-Controllers, which is the Internal Audit Service of Public Administration, have authority for the public services. Nevertheless, from the data after 2003, when DEY’s authorities extended to public services, only a small part of prosecutions represent ‘corruption’; first in this group of crimes comes bribery, followed by breach of duty, i.e. in either the offender’s or others’ illegal advantage.[25]

The Ombudsman’s Office is organised in branches of reference, one of them being the “branch of relations between state and citizens”. It accepts and investigates claims and complaints from citizens about the services of local and state government. Usually half of the total number of reports accepted per year is confirmed. In the Ombudsman’s annual reports, the analysis is categorised per branch; it is registered whether the cases have been resolved or not. If resolved, whether this happened with the Ombudsman’s mediation or without his/her support, and in such a case whether it was succeeded by the cooperation of the public service and the interested citizen. If it was not resolved, it is explained in general not specifically per case: i.e. no special legal provision, organisational drawbacks or malfunctions. Only in the Annual report of 2010[26] is there a general reference to corruption and this in relation to maladministration stating “neglect, service conditions, wasting time and resources”.

In general, the Report notes that the smooth daily running of the public service is hindered by understaffing or lack of qualified staff, inadequate infrastructure, lack of information and staff training, ineffective and sometimes weak ‘communication’ between the authorised agencies, overregulation and complexity of existing legislation.[27]

Moreover, the institutional reforms launched in 2010 which broadened the scope of responsibilities of local government, without creating a safe operating framework, the weaknesses in and inadequacies of the system made the problem even more complicated. Under such circumstances, the services suffocate, are unable to cope with their tasks and in many cases are stalled, resulting in a misty landscape where corruption and opacity are produced.[28]

The Inspectors-Controllers Body for Public Administration (SEEDD) is authorised for inspecting, controlling and investigating all public services, as well as reviewing assets of public officials, while the Special Secretary of SEEDD is responsible for ordering the opening of bank accounts, and accessing tax data and records of transactions in the stock market (Law 3213/2003, as amended by Law 3613/2007). After 2004 the citizen complaints show an annual increase ranging from 15-243.2% and the controls of 422% in relation to the previous years, because of the state support with personnel and resources; in addition, internal organizational reforms contributed to the acceleration of audit work and investigation of the large number of complaints addressed to SEEDD.[29]

However, the agency does not refer per se to corruption cases, since the complaints include a wide range of maladministration cases. The cases are categorised and outlined per subject (e.g. urban planning; health, security and employment; local government), in total numbers and in rates. The average rate of illegal behaviour for the period 2006-09 is 15.13, meaning that approximately 15 of 100 cases examined annually by SEEDD were found to participate in illegal activities by officials or governing bodies, justifying SEEDD’s proposal for disciplinary (335 controls) and/or criminal prosecution (120 controls). In the rest of the cases, the findings of the audit trace, in general, were malfunctions in the administration, such as complex procedures, delays, inefficiencies, etc. The higher rate of complaints is against regional (29.41%) and local government (25%) (Report 2006-2009: 12-13). In 2010, 869 controls have been carried out by the Inspectors-Controllers; 159 (18.38%) illegal activities of officials or governing bodies were discovered, justifying the proposal to disciplinary and/or criminal prosecution. The higher rate of complaints is as previously about regional (25%) and local government (19.32%). [30] Since the institution of the body in 1998 and until 2005, 702 controls have been carried out, for 143 (20.37%) of which they suggested disciplinary action and for 92 (13.1%) criminal prosecution. [31]  After all, it is noticed an interesting mobilisation of audit bodies with an increasing support of citizens. Nevertheless, the view of ‘corrupt’ or ‘intransparent’ public administration is not justifiable.

According to results of a 2005 survey on Crime and Safety in Europe[32] with citizens over 16 years of age and in particular on non-conventional crimes such as petty corruption, Greece has the highest rating, 13% vs. a 2% EU average among the 18 countries participating in the research.[33] However, in the European Values Survey of 1999/2000,[34] 97.7% of Greeks considered “corruption-bribery” in the group of highly disapproved behaviours[35] and 83.3% confirmed that citizens must always abide by the law, rising to first place, followed by the UK (76.5%), Portugal (65.5%), Spain (62.1%) and the Netherlands (55.4%).[36]

Greece’s very low score on the CPI index, despite its attempts to facilitate transparency, numerous control bodies, high disapproval rate of citizens, and endless criticism from the media[37] is not easy to explain. Some studies note that moral disapproval of corruption does not necessarily associates with willingness to make a complaint about it,[38] or that the followed behaviour (everyday behaviour) does not necessarily coincide with the legitimising of corruption.[39] Therefore, are the CPI indicators influenced by certain factors, which are much more complicated than they can imply? Why don’t the control bodies have some impact on the country’s profile?

III. The Research

III.1. Methodology, Methods and Analysis

In the first phase of the study, texts referring to corruption and ‘scandals’ were analysed and texts referring to the two case studies we were investigating (primary documents: prosecutors’ findings, reports of the Parliamentary Committee on Institutional Issues and Transparency, newspaper articles, NGOs reports, electoral programmes of political parties etc.)

In the second phase, the analysis concentrated on the discourse of the target groups interviewed (primary documents: interviews’ transcriptions). For the interviewsthe research group used an open questionnaire, including the outlines of the discussion and the main topics/questions. 24 interviews with 27 persons in total were arranged and finally, 22 interviews from 25 persons have been analysed.

We focused, in particular, on the discourse of each target group about itself and about corruption in general (definitions of corruption, perceptions of the causes, significance and extension of the problem, identification of the victims and the ‘usual’ actors, perceptions of the EU and Greek anti-corruption legislation) during both phases and compared their discourse with the existing specialist approaches in the bibliography, namely the views about certain issues relating with corruption under a socio-political and whenever necessary a historical context. Thus, we could cross check the issues referred to by the target groups. The remaining sources were Greek and foreign literature in the research areas and the respective target groups.

In the third phase, we attempted the integration of the two periods’ findings into a theoretical context.

The structure of the research and the data generation was common to all countries; however, as previously underlined, public administration was only analysed by the Greek group. Texts and interviews were analysed with the Atlas-ti.5 software.

Evaluation units (primary documents) for public administration were Ombudsman reports (1998-2008); Inspectors Controllers Body of Public Administration reports (1998-2008); the proceedings of Inspectors Controllers Continuous Training Workshop with the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), and National School of Public Administration (19-21st October 2005); Union of public servants (ADEDY) research, September 2005; two reports of Transparency International Hellas (2000, 2004); some articles of three high circulation daily newspapers (TA NEA, KATHIMERINI, ELEFTHEROTYPIA, 2003-2005). Annual reports (1999-2002, 2004) of the Financial Economic Crime Office (SDOE-Economy) and one booklet of OPEK (Group for society’s modernization, 1991) were general documents that have been additionally analysed.


III.2. Findings 

III.2.1. Overview of the Discourse

Generally speaking the views and discourse about several issues, such as social problems, should be distinguished between those expressed in official documents but also in public rhetoric, and the ones expressed in personal or private discourse. In our research the views of the representatives from the Greek public administration about “corruption”– definitions, efforts to find the causes and suggested methods to fight the problem– have many similarities between the two phases although differences remain. In order to explain the differences it must be taken into account the kind of material analysed during each period; texts, presentations, conference documents and annual reports in the first period, interviews in the second.

The most important distinction between the two phases of the project is in the interpretation of corruption. During the first phase, the texts identify corruption with maladministration of the public sector. Moreover, the first phase’s approaches, regard the whole issue of corruption, more from its procedural and administrative point of view, than on the basis of its morale nature, the specific characteristics – if they exist – and its functions in the Greek public administration. In other words, corruption is generally related to bureaucracy as well as to the regulatory inflation which frequently results in inconsistency of law, facilitating in turn the selective, arbitrary, partial or non law enforcement.

Only one representative of the public administration accepted to speak with us. Public administration was not included in the target groups of the research. The Greek team decided to analyse it in addition, integrating it into the target group politics, because of the special interest (significance) it has for Greece.

During the second phase, the representative of the public administration interviewed attempted a more thorough approach of the phenomenon. In any case, it should be taken into consideration that the interviewee is not a member of the administration to which he refers to, but the supervising authority of it, even if he himself was a high ranking judge at the Court of Appeal. Being a non-member of the administration justifies the General Inspector’s willingness for discussion and criticism. Civil servants are not allowed to be interviewed by outsiders, unless they have the permission of their superiors, which is very rare. In extraordinary cases, when they have the permission, it is doubtful whether their interview wouldn’t be strict formal. Irrespective of allowance or not they are generally unwilling to participate in whatever research from outside. Only a colleague of theirs, which means internally, can carry out a research, yet a qualitative one. Unionists of the public service were not available for the research and unwilling to participate in the research.

It is interesting that although the General Inspector adapts to common views and arguments about the role of the historical, cultural and socio-economical conditions which influenced the political system and state development to explain corruption, at the same time, the given definitions and the suggested means to confront the problem are identical with the international organizations. His legal education and experience doesn’t seem to play any role in reflecting the issue contrary to the judges and politicians, who have been interviewed. On the one hand he accepts the World Bank’s definition of corruption, while on the other, he contests methods and procedure followed by the international organizations (OECD, World Bank, TI) to measure it, yet without rejecting them.[40]

This is a general finding of the study for most target groups comparing the results between the first and the second research period. One reason is the role and the value attributed by the governments, the parties, NGOs, the media, as well as the European community to the reports of such organizations, thus strongly affecting the views of the citizens, and what is more, of educated persons and specialists too.

Another reason, which also explains the ambiguous attitude of the General Inspector and the reservations expressed in the documents of the civil servants is the outcome of the peculiar role public officials have to perform, and in particular that of high ranking officials of the public administration; they operate as the ‘vehicle’ transferring the messages and the experiences from the international environment to the local administration, as well as conveying the convergence of the public administration systems among the European Union’s member states. The interest in and orientation to the convergence is moreover apparent in the texts of the public administration analysed during the first phase of the project.


III.2.2. Ranking of Greece in International Surveys on Corruption

The official documents of the public administration show scepticism regarding the view that corruption is extended in the Greek public administration. Mostly neither accept nor deny it.Yet, the General Inspector localised corruption for the first time to certain areas, “where big money flows”. Thus, he specified a source of the problem expressing several times his doubt that it is as widespread as people think and media present. Furthermore, he questioned CPI scores where Greece is placed in high ranks of corruption. However, this view does not mean that he has a clear concept about the issue and its characteristics in the country.

The discussion in Greece about corruption in the public administration is general and simplistic, even if it is used the internationally prevailing definition and the reports of international organisations. The media exercise an endless criticism using the corruption rhetoric as a means to dispute the power and prestige of politics, but mainly the prestige of the state with its institutions and services in the public eye. In this context, the influence of international organisations’ measurements of and publications on corruption contributes much to a nihilistic view of the citizens about the state and society in general. Greek scholars contribute to this by restricting themselves to a rather ideological criticism of a simulacrum, while reliable research material is blatantly non-existent. Therefore, the findings and remarks of the international reports cannot be considered as the starting point for further discussion, but rather as a means for exercising pressure or encouraging powerful (economic, political) groups to promote their decisions towards consolidated situations, and establish their views and evaluations.

The results of TI surveys, which are based on views and opinions, generalisations and constructions, of a small sample of the business world and law companies (6-7 questionnaires), not on facts, convictions, systematic observation and experience, are the only source of information. In national replications (TI Hellas) small rates are deduced to the general population and households in order for the costs of corruption to be highlighted and sensation to be caused.[41] Thus the population accepts and internalises this non-reflective view. [42]

The clear distinction between ‘grand’ and ‘petty’ corruption is another finding the research group came upon during the second phase of the programme. ‘Petty’ corruption concerns citizen transactions and particularly the economic ones with public services.[43] Some analysts locate it at the lower levels of the public administration hierarchy.[44] According to the Inspector, corruption in general and ‘petty’ in particular, can be better outlined on the basis of recorded illegal behaviours, than on the basis of concepts about corruption which international studies use. The first are based on facts (e.g. administrative and penal court decisions, disciplinary boards’ decisions[45]) and not on concepts which are influenced by personal experiences, rumours and stereotypes, affected likewise by the media’s discourse that all the interviewees, apart from the columnists, characterised as “vague” and “destructive”.

Not only the demand side (the public sector), but also the supply side (private economy) are responsible for corruption. The private sector is the supplier of bribes to public services, and private organizations are the accomplices of corruption.[46] When economy’s representatives in our research urge for ‘less state’ or/ and ‘no state’, they imply a state better controlled by them. Although the Greek state appears extremely big, it is neither powerful nor effective.[47] It is captured by party-politics and collusive practices between party and economic elites.

Summing up, from the discussion comes up that the ranking of TI and the international organizations’ reflect views and (negative) attitudes of the private sector towards the public services and less an undoubted reality. Nevertheless, whenever the exchange favours the private sector then there is hardly any reference to corruption.


III.2.3. Causes of Corruption in the Discourse of Public Administration

a) ‘Inefficient’ Administration

In both research phases the researchers came upon the remark on low efficiency of public administration; in the first phase it was related to maladministration,[48] while in the second it was related to corruption.[49]

Administrative inefficiency is reproduced not only by heavy bureaucracy and overregulation but also by politicization of Public Administration. We are reminded here of the results of the Union of Civil Servants’ (ADEDY) research conducted in September 2005.[50] 89.6 % of the respondents (sample 1,200) regard corruption as a ‘general social phenomenon’, which either justifies the influence of others’ attitudes and opinions, or they try to deny the responsibilities. Only 8.9 % associate it with the public administration.[51] Furthermore, 62.2 % attributed it to the political leadership and party-loyalties in public administration, 20.5 % to the entrepreneurial-commercial factors (interests of the private economy) and only 13.6 % to civil servants.[52]

The argument of administrative insufficiency operates to a great extent as a consistent stereotype that describes an organised and efficient ‘North’ and an ineffective and oversized ‘South’.[53] Even if according to the Sustainable Governance Index of Bertelsmann Stiftung (2011)[54] countries of the South (Portugal, Italy, as well as France) are in low positions, with Greece at the very bottom (score 4.54), this is not only an issue of public administration. The Index contains a range of indicators of executive capacity (as measured by steering capacity, policy implementation and institutional learning) and executive accountability, in order to show which countries show the best governance performance and which countries show deficiencies.[55] According to the Index commentary on Greece, “The government’s strategic planning capacity is relatively low because the Prime Minister’s Office lacks the resources to live up to this task. Envisaged reforms are often not implemented, falling victim to resistance on the part of ministries or local governments. Recent governments have tried to introduce reforms that would facilitate the domestic application of international norms, but with little impact. Governments’ accountability toward citizens, the legislature and intermediary organizations is lacking.” [56]

Another point of criticism is the size of public administration. However, the comparison of public service employment in South, West and North Europe in absolute numbers, as well as in proportion of the total labour force challenge the promoted approach of oversized public administration. On the one hand the number of civil servants corresponding to the total economically active population is normal; on the other hand the rate of reduction in public employment does not significantly varies from that of Western and Northern European states.[57]

Up to 1986 the number of public servants stricto sensu (central government) rose to 200-260 thousand; in 1986 the employees of public enterprises (electricity-energy, water supply etc.) were also included in the total. Until then they were working with contracts and they had no tenure. Teachers from all levels of education were also included as were priests, judges, police personnel etc. Thus, the number of employees in the public sector lato sensu rose to 600 thousand. In the late nineties regional civil servants were also included, so the total number rose in 2010 further to 768 thousand, corresponding to the 13.6% (5,268,509)[58] – 15.2% (5,050,000)[59] of the labour force. After 2010 their numbers fell to around 668,000, mainly due early retirement in order state savings to be increased.[60] All in all, the absolute number of public servants in the stricter sense fluctuated after 1986 between 260 and 300 thousand, which means that it has increased during the late 20 years by around 40 thousand persons. Now the employees of public enterprises are excluded again from public sector, since a big part of it has been privatised.

Furthermore, the contemporary comparison between the Greek public services and those in the Northern European countries using indicators, such as state expenses and revenues, degree of politicization of high rank executives and the size of bureaucratic structures illustrates similarities and not differences.[61] Consequently, during the last few years many politicians, academics and journalists are more reserved about the overused argument of the weak public administration.


b) Clientelism and Rent-seeking

In the bibliography, our primary documents analysed and interviews with other target groups, we have found that the main reason for corruption in Greece in general and in public administration in particular, is considered to be clientelism. Clientelism is regarded the non institutionalised communication between the political power and the citizens/’clients’ through rent-seeking. Clientelism justifies the failure of the public administration reforms as well as the inertia of the state mechanism with the excuse of ‘political cost’.

There are two approaches regarding clientelism in Greece. The first one – the traditional approach – regards the issue as an “instrumental relationship between patron(s) and client(s)”, operating in favour of both sides “as contractually founded”.[62] The second one considers it a “way of political participation of the masses”,[63] which are otherwise excluded. In the first approach clientelism has a negative meaning. But in the second approach, it is seen as “a 'vertical' political participation of the citizens”.[64] Therefore, it is an institutionalised form of social organisation and behaviour which is ‘indirectly legitimised’. It operates, besides, as a redistribution mechanism (“concrete way of creating and distributing revenue”) for the general population.[65]

In other words, clientelism is not an inherent characteristic in the sense of value or culture but the product of historical events and political organization and functions of the state mechanism during its development, in which a rational and general redistribution mechanism of social wealth, welfare benefits and social protection was missing.[66]

Under this view clientelism can provide an explanation for the resistance of corruption. It operates as a mechanism that absorbs social inequalities producing conflicts and strain; moreover, it balances the state of confusion and uncertainty. Arguing that clientelism has developed from a mechanism of balancing social inequalities to an established mentality producing corruption (usually ‘petty’ corruption), is deterministic and antirational.  The previous doesn’t mean at all that clientelism does not exist or is justified; I am trying to put a complicated issue in a context for its understanding, if possible. Even so, a clientelistic political culture and strong sectoral interests often make reform attempts to fall victim to political pressures. However, the debt crisis has put underway a shift in public attitudes with calls for a break with the past growing.[67]

Clientelism and rent-seeking are usually attributed to the countries of the South contrasting them with the countries of the North; though clientelistic relationships exist to some degree and in various forms in all modern societies.[68] Large-scale patronage systems declined steadily during the twentieth century in the western countries. The assassination of US President James Garfield in 1881 by a disgruntled office seeker who did not receive a political appointment, spurred Congress to pass the Civil Service Act, or Pendleton Act of 1883 (5 U.S.C.A. § 1101 et seq.). The Act, which at the time only applied to 10 % of the federal workforce, created a Civil Service Commission and advocated a merit system for the selection of government employees. By 1980, 90 % of federal positions had become part of the civil service system.

However, US Congress took another look at patronage issues in the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 (92 Stat. 1121-1131, 5 U.S.C.A. 1201-1209). Concerned that federal bureaucrats were too independent and unresponsive to elected officials, the Act of 1978 replaced the Civil Service Commission with the Office of Personnel Management, under closer control of the President. The Act also created the Senior Executive Service, which gives the President greater discretion in assigning top officials to departments and agencies.

In some democracies high-level appointments are reviewed or approved by the legislature (as in the advice and consent of the US Senate); such overt political patronage is seen as a tool for rewarding and enforcing loyalty. Loyalty is the criterion for selecting a person rather than merit. The selection process may be seen as questionable.[69] The patronage office still exists in the British Civil Service; its role is to check that political honours are not given to inappropriate people, as in the period from 1916 to 1922 when Lloyd George sold them.[70]


c)      Overregulation as a Cause of Corruption

According to General Inspector three main factors produce corruption in public administration. The first is administration’s reliance on governments and party politics,[71] the second is money transactions between citizens and public services,[72] and the third is overregulation, complex legislation, as well as ambiguities in legislation, contradiction in content of legislation (‘grey zone’) offering high discretionary  power to public administration.[73]

Regulatory inflation is not only the product of numerous demands of modern society, but also the product of a prevailing legalistic culture in the country. The issuing of new laws or amendment of the existing ones is a common reaction of the governments of the time to whatever problem (social, economic or political) arises. Justice and, surprisingly, all law enforcement authorities react similarly. Overregulation widens the gap between the spirit of the law and law enforcement. In any case, the increased production of new regulations and frequent amendments of the existing ones cannot justify corruption by themselves. According to the General Inspector, the complicated normative environment implies ad hoc favours either to individuals or to certain social groups in order for their political support to be gained.[74]

Furthermore the ‘lack of moral standards’[75] for serving citizens’ interests in local communities is a unique development of the last decades. Firstly, the reliance of local authorities on communities and, secondly, clientelism are the main reasons for corrupt practices and exchanges in local administration, so the Inspector.[76] This point of view contradicts the one mentioned in the beginning of the interview about the definition of corruption, because it unintentionally expresses the author’s own anticorruption discourse moralism. It is interesting too that the General Inspector reckons corruption as a problem of unequal access to goods and services and of discretionary treatment. His view is based on a sense of ‘true’ justice, as he said, rather than one of law abiding behaviour. Thus, he verifies another previously mentioned remark about the function of corruption as redistribution mechanism of social wealth and social protection.


V. Evaluation, Conclusions, Suggestions

The main questions examined hitherto were a) the view of public administration about reasons for corruption in Greece, b) if the reasons are related, according to the interviewees, to the historical process of state formation and especially to the way state and society interact, and c) what are the forms of ‘corruption’.

According to analysts, the politicization of public administration, corporatism, legalism and reliance of economy on the state produce corruption in Greece. However, I have tried so far to show that certain characteristics of power relations in Greece and in particular in public administration, are not so different from those in other contemporary administrative systems (that is systems based on the principles of democracy, rule of law and liberal economy), and rather resemble characteristics of neighbouring countries with similar experiences in their social and political development. I have already referred to the similarities noticed in the majority of modern administrative systems such as their big size and low efficiency. Similarities of this kind are also observed in most western countries in the interface of the economy with the political system where ‘grand’ corruption is generated, for example undeclared party financing, bribery of trade unionists in big companies by the employers in order to support their decisions and ensure the consensus of the employees etc.[77]

Nonetheless there are forms of ‘petty’ corruption which are particularly maintained over time and in certain geographical areas. One of those is the European South. It can be used to a certain extent as a distinct analytical category because of the common characteristics which have influenced the formation of the Southern European states during their history. The category does not ignore the particular conditions and the different characteristics of each state. But contemporary social research has shown that the four features (overregulation, inefficiency, clientelism, rent-seeking) of the Greek public administration referred previously, are not typically ‘Greek’.[78] They are components of all states of the European South and qualify respectively the relations of power between the state and the citizens. Therefore, the research about corruption in Greece should not be restricted to the national context but the context of the countries of Southern Europe. Similarly the problem must be examined among the administrative systems of southern Europe, as well as their policies against corruption. In a period where efforts for administrative convergence are carried out, this must be taken into account.

Corruption develops in close relation with the society itself. Corruption is rooted in the authoritative relation between the state and its citizens. These conclusions are drawn not only by comparing corruption in different countries, but also in the same country. Different forms of imposed power are reflected in different practices (i.e. Southern- and Northern Italy).

Nevertheless, the hegemony of thought, definition, practice and evaluation is an issue of the North. The North as a rule defines the quality the South, not the other way around. The South wants to resemble the North, while the South is by definition corrupt and poor, whether poor because it is corrupt, or corrupt because it is poor, everything fits. Yet how would be then explained cases such as Agusta-Dassault, the Belgian corruption scandal (1991, 1998), ‘Santer-Gate’ (1999) and the recent Galvin Report both EU scandals (2006/2008), the Elf Aquitaine – Leuna (1993-1998), the French German scandal, the Iran-ContraScandal (1981-88), USA, etc., as single cases, as isolated phenomena? All of the above might show that new analytical tools for their study are absolutely necessary. The North is ‘clean’ because the South is ‘corrupt’. Wealth exists only in relation to poverty/only because of poverty.[79]

Policies against corruption should be carried out in groups of states which have some common characteristics and experiences. Although each state is unique, it cannot be an argument for doing nothing. On the contrary its ‘uniqueness’ should shape each country’s strategic planning. Customization of reform is after all a key component of success.

Consequently, strengthening the existing repressive or control mechanisms against corruption or creating new ones will not be effective. Targeted small changes in public administration would be more effective against corruption under the condition that social consensus exists. Another prerequisite for the success of public administration reform programmes is a network of flexible alliances between the major actor – the state – and the other stakeholders. It is still important to build support from social groups outside public administration.

Some more suggestions are the following:

1) Codification and recasting of regulations in order to eliminate legal ambiguity.

2) Adequate support and staffing of the control bodies, especially of the General Inspector of Public Administration’s Office. The co-operation of control bodies’ with the administration should be improved as well.

3)The expansion of e-government infrastructure will reduce the citizens’ physical contact with the administration.

4)The reinforcement of international co-operation for confronting corruption through the transfer of know-how and the use of ‘good practices’ adequate for Greece.

A strategic planning against corruption above party-politics is necessary to promote the referred suggestions. As the General Inspector said “Corruption can not be dealt with a party political logic”.

The above synoptic overview shows that the dominant contemporary concept of the phenomenon, as expressed by international organisations such as the World Bank, TI is strongly affected by a certain model of political, social and economic organisation, notably that of the free market and its neoliberal ideology.[80] Therefore, the corruption rhetoric is used to enhance further neoliberal socio-economic restructuring in countries of the developing world or of the semi-periphery and it does not question or bother with the social impact of replacing ‘corrupt’ practices with ‘clean’ ones as long as the former serve the process of further marketization and commodification. With this, I do not support the idea that certain practices such as “bribery” or “political patron-client exchange” are a social construct made by dominant interests and rhetoric. Instead it is noted that the characterisation and labelling of some acts as corrupt – irrespective of their previous longstanding criminalisation – serves a clear political goal: the expansion and domination of market relations, independent of social costs and without examining alternative trajectories empowering the lower strata of societies, or countries which do not exactly fit the format of the advanced developed societies. When this happens, a total contestation of the values system of the countries of the semi-periphery takes place, resulting in disapproval of their behaviour system and eventual castigation, in support of significant political and economic decisions.[81]

The article was first published in the Amsterdam Law Forum, Vol 4, No 3 (2012), Summer Issue, pp.79-96.

[1] ALPHA Bank, Newsletter 96, Athens, December 2005, pp.3-4.

[2]Specific Targeted Research Project: Crime and Culture. The relevance of perceptions of corruption to crime prevention. A comparative cultural study in the EU-accession states Bulgaria and Romania, the EU-candidate states Turkey and Croatia and the EU-states Germany, Greece and United Kingdom.  Priority 7- FP6 EUROPEAN COMMISSION-2004 -Citizens-5, at: (accessed on 10 July 2012).

[3]The research was carried out and the results are a common piece of work with my Greek colleagues who participated (January 2006-December 2008) in the Project, of different composition, different length of time, and on various periods of the research: S. Ageli (MA), E. Bakali (MA, Ministry of Interior and Public Administration), N. Papamanolis (MA, Ministry of Interior and Public Administration), E. Bakirli (MA),  Dr. Iosifides (Assistant Prof., Univ. of Aegean), Dr. Garyfallia Massouri and P. Salihos (MA). The text-analysis of the Target Groups Public Administration and Politics was carried out by Nikos Papamanolis and the author, with the support of Theodoros Iosifides.

[4] K. Tsoukalas, Social Development and the State. The Formation of the Public Space in Greece, Athens: Themelio 1981 [el].

[5] D. Sotiropoulos, ‘Southern European public bureaucracies in comparative perspective’, West European Politics 2004-3, pp. 405-22.

[6] N.P. Mouzelis, Politics in the Semi-Periphery: Early Parliamentarism and Late Industrialization in the Balkans and Latin America, Athens: Themelio 1987 [in Greek from the original in English, New York: St. Martin’s Press 1986]; K. Tsoukalas, State, Society, Labour in Post-War Greece, Athens: Themelio 1987 [el]; G. Mavrogordatos, Between Pityokamptes and Prokroustes: Corporate Interests in Contemporary Greece, Athens:  Odysseas 1988 [el].

[7] G. Mavrogordatos, ‘Venizelismos and civil modernization’, in G. Mavrogordatos & Ch. Hatziiosif (eds.), Venizelismos and Civil Modernization, Heraklion: Cretan University Press 1992, pp. 9-21 [el].

[8]See e.g. the classic works of D. Mechanic, ‘The power to resist change among lower-ranking-personnel’, Personell Administration 1963-3, pp. 5-11; M. Crozier, ‘Der bürokratische Circulus vitiosus und das Problem des Wandels”, in R. Mayntz (ed.), Bürokratische Organization, Köln: Kiepenhauer & Witsch 1968, pp. 277-288 [286] [de].

[9] G. Voulgaris, Greece after the Political Transformation, 1974-1990: Stable Democracy Scarred from the After-War History, Athens: Themelio 2001 [el].

[10] S. Sakellaropoulos & P. Sotiris (2004). Restructuring and Modernization. Social and Political Changes in Greece in the ’90s, Athens: Papazissis 2004, pp. 61-94 [el].

An example of the efforts for modernization in politics is the establishment of the ‘Group for the Modernization of our Society’ (OPEK) in 1991. Among its founding members was the later on Prime Minister, Konstantinos Simitis. For a detailed overview of the works of OPEK and its foundation chronicle, see D. Papoulias, The Golden Public Sector: Reforms’ Rhetoric and Reality, Athens: Estia 2007 [el]. See also OPEK, Against corruption, by V. Tsouderou 2006, (no more available at:[el].

[11]The frequent change of ministers hastens the legislation (ministerial decrees), because each minister has more or less a personal agenda.  

[12]In November 1988, a shortfall of US$132 million was discovered in the Bank of Crete, some months after bank chairman G. Koskotas, a Greek-American millionaire entrepreneur under investigation for large-scale financial crime (forgery and embezzlement), had fled the country. Koskotas had bought a national Bank, the Bank of Crete, in 1984. Greek officials charged that the banker forged documents belonging to Merrill Lynch & Company and the Irving Trust Company and were used to buy control of the Bank of Crete and that he then stole at least $135 million from depositors. A large amount of money was found in his American assets.

[13]I. Manoledakis, ‘The judicial dependence on executive’, in The Society of Greek Judges for Democracy and Freedoms (eds.), Patterns of Justice Dependence on the Executive Power, Thessaloniki: Sakkoulas 1992, pp. 12-29 [24] [el].

[14] TI/Transparency International, CPI/Corruption Perceptions Indices 1996-1998, at: (accessed on 10 July 2012); see also TI, Country report – Greece 2009,  in TI - Global Corruption Report 2009, Corruption and the private sector. Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press, pp. 338-42, at: (accessed on 10 July 2012); TI − CPI 2003-2011, at: (accessed on 10 July 2012).

[15] National Statistical Service of Greece/NSSG, Justice Statistics 1980-1987, Athens: National Printing Office, Table B4.

[16] Government’s Gazette 15-A, 18.01.1996.

[17] Court of Cassation, Decision Nr.  606/1987, Poinika Chronica 1987 (37): 540-1; Athens Court of Appeal, Decision Nr. 519-520/1995, Poinika Chronica 1995 (45): 89-92; Court of Cassation, Decision Nr. 489/1996, Poinika Chronica 1997 (47): 635-9; Court of Cassation, Decision Nr.  998/2004, Poinika Chronica 2005 (55): 433-4; Court of Cassation, Decision Nr. 196/2005, Poinika Chronica 2005 (55): 922-5; Council of State, Dpt. C-Decision Nr. 985/2005, Nomiko Vima 2005 (53): 1686-9.

[18] NSSG, Justice Statistics 1988, Athens: National Printing Office, Table B4.

[19] CoE/Council of Europe, Civil Law Convention on Corruption. European Treaty Series, No. 174, 4 November1999, at: (accessed on 3 July 2012).

[20]CoE, Framework Decision 2002/584/JHA on the European Arrest Warrant and the Surrender Procedures between Member States, 13 June 2002 [OJL 190 of 18.07.2002], at: (accessed on 3 July 2012).

[21] E. Fytrakis, The Control Bodies of Public administration. Theory, Legislation, Case Law, Athens: Nomiki Vivliothiki 2007, pp. 1-2.

[22] Report/Parliament, Report of the Scientific Board of the Greek Parliament on the Bill about ‘European arrest warrant and the surrender procedures: change of the Law 2928/2001 about criminal organizations and other regulations’, 20 June 2004, adviser Chr. Mylonopoulos, pp. 4-5.

[23] DEY/Police Division of Internal Affairs, Annual Report 2006, pp. 36-44; DEY, Annual Report 2010, pp. 35-8, all reports at: (accessed on 3 July 2012).

[24] Annual average 551 cases.

[25] DEY, Annual Report 2004, Fig. 2, p. 26; DEY 2010, supra note 22, Table 7, pp. 29-30, Table 8, p. 31.

[26] Ombudsman, Annual Report 2010, Athens: National Printing Office, March 2011, p. 91, all reports at: (accessed on 7 July 2012).

[27] Ibid.

[28] Ibid.

[29] SEEDD/Inspectors-Controllers Body for Public Administration, Report 2010, National Printing Office: Athens, July 2011, p. 27, all reports at: (accessed on 3 July 2012).

[30] SEEDD 2010, supra note 28, pp. 22-3.

[31] SEEDD, Summary Report 1998-2005, pp. 4, 8; see also a summary power point presentation of SEEDD activities in English at: (accessed on 10 July 2012).

[32] EU ICS, The Burden of Crime in the EU: A Comparative Analysis of the European Survey of Crime and Safety 2005, sine loco: Gallup-Europe et al., at: (accessed on 1 July 2012).

[33]Idem, p. 14.

[34] L. Halman, The European Values Study: A Third Wave. Sourcebook of the 1999/2000 European Values Study Surveys, EVS, WORC, Tilburg University: Tilburg 2001, Table 65_G, p. 222, at: (accessed on 10 July 2012).

[35] See also WVS/World Values Survey, Online Data Analysis, 1999-2004, Greece 1999/WVS 2000, F117, cf. F116, F146, at: (accessed on 13 July 2012).

[36] EKKE/NCSR (National Centre for Social Research), Greece-Europe: Society, Politics, Values 2003, pp. 29, 57, European Social Survey, at: (accessed on 13 July 2012) [el].

[37] E.g. K. Moschonas, ‘Greece: European champion in corruption and bag-snatching’, Eleftherotypia, 7 February 2007, for the EU ICS 2005 results (no more available online).

[38] M. Killias, ‘Korruption: Vive la Repression! – Oder was sonst? Zur Blindheit der Kriminalpolitik für Ursachen und Nuancen’, in H.-D. Schwind, E. Kube & H.-H. Kühne (eds.), Festschrift für Hans Joachim Schneider zum 70. Geburtstag, Berlin and New York: de Gruyter 1998, pp. 239-54 [de].

[39] S. Karstedt, ‘Macht, Ungleichheit und Korruption: Strukturelle und kulturelle Determinanten im internationalen Vergleich’ in D. Oberwittler & S. Karstedt (eds.), KZfSS, Sonderheft 43: Soziologie der Kriminalität, Wiesbaden: VS 2003, pp. 384-412 [389-90, 397-408] [de].

[40] E. Lambropoulou, Second Research Report Greece: Perceptions of Corruption in Greece. A Content Analysis of Interviews from Politics, Judiciary, Police, Media, Civil Society and Economy, October 2007b, pp. 16, 19, online at: supra note 2.

[41] In TI Hellas research 75-79% of the samples (n= 6,027-12,020 persons) between 2007-11 didn’t refer any case of corruption; 1.9-5.7% gave vague answers or they were not sure; however the emphasis of TI was on the rates referred to a case (7.16-9.5%), TI Hellas/Public Issue, National Research about Corruption in Greece, Athens 2011, all Reports after 2005 at: (accessed on 3 July 2012).

[42] See also TI Hellas/Public Issue, National Research about Corruption in Greece 2008, 17 February 2009 [el]; TI Hellas/Public Issue, National Research about Corruption in Greece 2008, Scales for Measuring Attitudes and Perceptions about Corruption in Greece, January 2009 [el] (accessed on 3 July 2012).

[43] Lambropoulou 2007b, supra note 39, pp. 17, 22.

[44] R.S. Katz & P. Mair, ‘Changing models of party organization and party democracy: The emergence of the cartel party’, Party Politics 1995-1, pp. 5-28.

[45] The General Inspector of Public Administration agrees with the use of administrative and penal court decisions as the most reliable method for measuring corruption.

[46] K. Vlachos-Dengler, The Greek Civil Society and the Impact of Globalization. Paper presented at the 3rd Annual Kokkalis Graduate Student-Workshop, Harvard University, 9-10 February 2000, unpublished.

[47] C. Spanou, ‘On the regulatory capacity of the Hellenic state: A tentative approach based on a case study’, International Review of Administrative Sciences 1996-2, pp. 219-37; D.A. Sotiropoulos, ‘A Collossus with feet of clay: The state in post-authoritarian Greece’, in V. Coufoudakis, H.J. Psomiades & A. Gerolymatos (eds.), Greece and the New Balkans, New York: Pella 1999, pp. 43-56.

[48] E. Lambropoulou, Greece: State of the Art Report, Perceptions of Corruption in Greece. A Content Analysis of Documents from Politics, Judiciary, Police, Media, Civil Society and Economy (Rev 1, unpublished), January 2007a, pp. 24-5.

[49] Lambropoulou 2007b, supra note 39, p. 16.

[50] In its text are only presented the results of the study.

[51] E. Lambropoulou, S. Ageli, N. Papamanolis & E. Bakali, The Construction of Corruption in Greece. A Normative or Cultural Issue? Discussion Paper Series No 6, 2007, p. 10.

[52] Ibid.

[53] Lambropoulou 2007b, supra note 39, p. 30.

[54] Bertelsmann Stiftung, Policy Performance and Governance Capacities in the OECD. Sustainable Governance Indicators 2011, Gütersloh: Bertelsmann Stiftung 2011, at:

[55] R. Boyle, Public Sector Trends 2011, Research Paper Nº6, State of the Public Service Series, Institute of Public Administration Ireland, November 2011, at: (accessed on 3 July 2012).

[56] Bertelsmann Stiftung, Sustainable Governance Indicators 2011, online Key findings Greece, Management 2011a, at: (accessed on 3 July 2012).

See also Bertelsmann Stiftung, Policy Performance…, 2011, Gütersloh 2011b, at:, pp. 21-23 (accessed on 3 July 2012); D.A. Sitoropoulos, K. Featherstone & C. Colino, Sustainable Governance Indicators 2011, Greece Report, at: (accessed on 3 July 2012).

According to  World Economic Forum/WEF, from a list of 15 factors, business executives were asked to select the five most problematic for doing business in their country and to rank them between 1 (most problematic) and 5. For Greek respondents the first three were Inefficient government-bureaucracy: 22.1; Access to financing: 13.8; Corruption: 13, WEF, K. Schwab (ed.), The Global Competitiveness Report 2011-2012, Geneva, Switzerland: WEF 2011, pp. 188-9, at: (accessed on 3 July 2012).

[57] Exclusively for public administration, see Presidencia Española de la Unión Europea, Ministry of the Presidency, Public employment in European Union Member States, State Secretariat for the Public Service, Directorate-General of the Public Service, Madrid 2010, pp. 7-9, at: (accessed all on 5 July 2012).

[58] Index Mundi 2010, Labor force, total, at: (accessed all on 12 July 2012).

[59] Index Mundi 2010, Labor Force Comparative Map, at:; more at: (accessed all on 12 July 2012).

[60] See more, Ministry of Administrative Reform and E-Government Tables, at:; also NSSG 2012, Statistical themes, Employment-Unemployment,  Labour force 1st quarter 2012, online Table 5: Persons employed of 15 years and over by one-digit categories of economic activities, occupational status and sex, 1st quarter 2012, Public administration and defence, n= 677,800, at: (accessed both on 11 July 2012).

[61] D.A. Sotiropoulos, State and Reform in Modern Southern Europe: Greece-Spain-Italy-Portugal, Athens: Potamos 2007, pp. 48-56 [el].

[62] Mavrogordatos 1988, supra note 6, p. 5.

[63] C. Lyrintzis, ‘Political parties in post-junta Greece: A case of bureaucratic clientilism?’, West European Politics 1984-2, pp. 99-118.

[64] Mouzelis 1987, supra note 6. The author distinguishes between the ‘horizontal’ and ‘vertical’ type of relationship between the citizens and the state. ‘Horizontal’ is the political participation which is based on collective forms of social accession (e.g. professional unions, political parties). ‘Vertical’ is the form of political participation which is based on certain personal or family bonds with members of local and/or national elite; thus the citizen is connected to the political system and the power system in general.

[65] M. Petmesidou, ‘Social protection in southern Europe: Trends and prospects’, Journal of Area Studies 1996-1, pp. 95-125, cited by Sotiropoulos 2007, supra note 60, p. 100.

[66] D.A. Sotiropoulos, Bureaucracy and Political Power: Sociological Analysis of the Relations between Public Administration and Politics in Greece during the ’80s, Athens and Komotini: A.N. Sakkoulas 1996, pp. 60-2 [el]; C. Lyrintzis, ‘The changing party system: Stable democracy, contested 'modernization'’, West European Politics, 2005-2, pp. 242-59 [248].

According to the authors, the ‘traditional’ clientelism, namely the interpersonal relationship of the voter (or his family) with the politician (patron) has been transformed in the course of time. Now the role of the patron is played by the political parties and their bureaucracy. In Greece this development took place in the 80’s along with the re-organisation of political parties (increase in the members of the parliamentary parties, collective procedures, local, prefectural and central parties’ executives, party trade unions in public sector, etc.).

[67] Bertelsmann Stiftung 2011, Greece Status index, online at: (accessed on 3 July 2012).

[68] K.R. Legg, Patrons, Clients and Politicians: New Perspectives on Clientelism, Working Papers on Development 3, Berkeley, CA: Institute of International Studies 1975; S. Xenakis, ‘Pride and prejudice: Comparative corruption research and the British case’, Crime, Law and Social Change 2010-1, pp. 39–61 [50-55].

[69] West's Encyclopedia of American Law, Patronage, at: (, (accessed on 13 July 2012).

[70] Oxford Dictionary of Politics, Patronage, at:, (accessed on 13 July 2012); see also Xenakis 2010, supra note 67, p. 51.

[71]  Lambropoulou 2007b, supra note 39, p. 17.

[72]  Ibid.

[73] Lambropoulou 2007a, supra note 47, p. 25; 2007b supra note 39 , p. 22.

[74] Lambropoulou 2007b, p. 20.

[75] Idem, p. 17.

[76] Ibid.

[77] See more in G. Kaiser, ‘Confronting corruption’, Science and Society 2005-15, pp. 19-43 [el].

[78] T. Bruneau, N. Diamandouros, R. Gunther, R., A. Lijphart, L. Morlino & R.A. Brooks, ‘Democracy, Southern European Style?’, in N. Diamandouros & R. Gunther (eds.), Parties, Politics, and Democracy in the New Southern Europe, Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press 2001, pp. 16-82; also Diamandouros & Gunther  (eds.) 2001, idem.

[79] Cf. N. Luhmann, Rechtssoziologie, 4th edn., Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag 1983, pp. 116-31.

[80] See also D.L. Rothe, ‘Facilitating corruption and human rights violations: the role of international financial institutions’, Crime, Law and Social Change 53-5, 2010, pp. 457-76.

[81]  Kaiser 2005, supranote 76, p. 23.


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