Fighting or supporting corruption? The role of public sector audit organizations in Brazil André Lino
Uploaded by André Lino     Uploaded date: November 27, 2021    
Publication date
October 11, 2021
Paper language
Public sector audit organizations are usually expected to fight corruption. Yet they may also end up being involved in, and contributing to, sustaining corruption. Relying on multiple interviews, this paper sheds new light on the concrete mechanisms through which corruption is sustained by Brazilian regional Courts of Accounts and their members. Our findings show how politico-economic elites’ private interests infiltrate the Courts via the appointment of high-ranked officials and how those officials may resort to a variety of actions to perpetrate forms of selective justice and to weaken the audit findings of these organizations – which ends up strengthening and supporting corruption. Additionally, we provide evidence of collective action emerging to challenge the current situation and reinforce the role Courts could play as watchdogs of the public interest. We contribute to the literature by highlighting the deleterious role of the interface between political and economic interests and the functioning of audit organizations. Moreover, relying on the literature of first- and second-order corruption, we discuss the specific conditions and mechanisms which enable corruption in public audit organizations. Finally, we present practical implications providing alternative views to the status quo.
Preferred Citation
Lino, A. F., de Azevedo, R. R., de Aquino, A. C. B., & Steccolini, I. (2021). Fighting or supporting corruption? The role of public sector audit organizations in Brazil. Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 102384.
Audit Court; Corruption; Selective Justice; Political Influence; Politicization; Independence
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Type of Paper
Published paper

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