When people talk of corruption, it often doesn’t take long before they begin talking about money. For many, it is this relationship above all others that lies at the core of when, how and under what circumstances corruption occurs.

In this module, you’ll assess the impact of money on political processes. While perceived wisdom has it that money helps shape and influence political outcomes, in reality, the relationship is more complicated.

This module unpacks a number of theoretical models for financing politics, before evaluating their respective impacts. It outlines that while it is frequently the distortive impact of large donors that receive the headlines, state-funded models of political finance also have their corruption-related challenges.

Over the course of the module, you’ll get up to speed with both the strengths and weaknesses of a variety of theoretical models that offer corruption-free options for funding political life, as well as the (often much different) real-world outcomes they have produced.

This module will help you understand that no matter how political life is funded, corruption challenges will remain. The more prescient question is: which corruption-related outcomes are more palatable and why?

Module Lead: Dr. Samuel Power

What you’ll learn

  • You’ll learn to understand more about how democratic institutions choose to manage the relationship between money and political life.
  • You’ll learn to critically evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the various models and to link theoretical expectations with real-world outcomes.
  • You’ll learn to analyse and interpret the politics behind reform initiatives in this area.

By the end of the module, you’ll be able to:

  • demonstrate an understanding of why it is so difficult to create financial regimes for organising political life that are free of corruption
  • explain why attempts to reform financial regimes have proven to be so challenging
  • apply this knowledge to a range of real-world country cases where reforms have been undertaken and where problems have occurred.

Types of assessment may include:

  • a group presentation (40%) – in this assessment, you’ll identify the core features of a funding regime in a specific country and outline the specifics of the regime in terms of what is (and is not) allowed, how the funding regime has developed over time, and the challenges it presents
  • an essay (60%) – you’ll build on the previous presentation, writing an essay on one of four key challenges (covered in the module) that are prevalent when discussing money, politics and corruption.