Although consistent academic writing on (anti-)corruption can be found since the 1960s, it was not until the mid-1990s that research on the subject started to gather international attention. Since then, the academic corpus on (anti-)corruption has increased exponentially, with fifty new publications reportedly being produced every month according to a well recognized bibliographic database. Still, the actual amount of knowledge on the subject, and the themes and concepts considered for scientific inquiry, remains uncertain. This potential gap between the knowledge produced by individual authors and the policy recommendations available to decision-makers represents a dangerous limitation to our capacity to direct efforts towards specific topics, and a waste of crucial scientific resources. Shedding some light into this morass, we collected citation and abstract data available for 5,174 academic publications listed in the Global Anticorruption Blog’s (GAB) Anticorruption Bibliography, related to integrity, anti-bribery compliance, political clientelism, etc. Using the Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA) algorithm to classify the documents, the analysis of this corpus identifies major research themes and track their evolution over the past fifty years, highlighting the role that different topics played at crucial points in time. The results invite us to reflect on the achievements and failures of (anti-)corruption studies as a research agenda, and to draw some predictions regarding future trends in the field.
Dr. Joseph Pozsgai-Alvarez