In 2016, Asia Democracy Research Network (ADRN) selected corruption, shrinking civic space, and gender inequality as the common challenges across Asia that continue to plague and work against deepening the quality of democracy. 

Against this background, ADRN published this special report to evaluate the current state of corruption in the region by studying the strengths and weaknesses of each country’s mechanisms including law and regulations, public participation, and public governance. The report investigates pressing, contemporary questions such as: What is the state of corruption in Asia? What successes and failures has each country experienced in controlling corruption? How can state of corruption in Asia be improved?

Drawing on a rich array of resources and data, this report offers country-specific analysis, highlights areas of improvement, and suggests policy recommendations for clean governance in Asia.


Quotes from the Paper 
“South Korea poses a corruption paradox. A large number of Koreans believe that the country is corrupt, but few Koreans have had the experience of paying a bribe. Instead, corruption in South Korea is perceived to exist at the institutional level; president, national assembly, police, tax officials, judiciary, and other public officials are deemed to be corrupt.” – East Asia Institute

“This paper aims to make the argument that this increasing level of corruption has resulted in dwindling public trust in the ruling government. (…) The voting trends of the previous two elections are significant indicators of an increasing public demand for higher levels of accountability and transparency in government.” - Institute for Democracy and Economic Affair

“Mongolia is a country where politics, especially involving top government officials, plays an almost-too-important role in all sectors. As a result, government policies and actions are failing to serve as a good governance model. (…) Mongolia must resolve its issues concerning institutionalization in the public sector, activation of civil society, and current economic conditions.” – Academy of Political Education

“Public pressure for action against corruption has failed to translate into a stronger system of accountability for corruption by the executive. (…) In this context, strengthening horizontal accountability in Sri Lanka will entail enhancing the structural and operational autonomy of anti-corruption institutions from the executive.” - Verité Research

“Pakistan has experimented with a number of models to address the menace of white-collar corruption. One major weakness in the laws controlling these institutions was the unbridled power of the ruling party to appoint and remove the heads of these institutions. A major improvement in the law governing the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was introduced through the National Accountability Ordinance of 2002 when the appointment of the NAB Chairman was required to be made through a bipartisan process involving consultation with the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly.” - Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency

“The overarching issues of political independence; protection of witnesses, complainants and victims; public participation in anti-corruption measures; and providing anti-corruption education to the public must be given priority in reforming anti-corruption institutions in Myanmar.” - Sandhi Governance Institute


Various researchers from East Asia Institute, Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs, Academy of Political Education, Verité Research, Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency, and Sandhi Governance Institute contributed to the research and writing of each report. 

EAI provided support in the form of typesetting and proofreading for the production of the reports.