A list of various Books and Academic Papers published about Corruption in Lebanon

Atie J El Mouallem
09 حزيران 2019

Corruption is one of the most burgeoning issues plaguing Lebanon at the moment. It permeates all layers of society and is widespread.  A lot has been written to document the high levels of corruption in Lebanese society. Writings include compelling pieces such as this. This article aims to present a comprehensive list of books and academic papers written about corruption in Lebanon.



Books About Corruption in Lebanon

1- The Lebanese Connection: Corruption, Civil War, and the International Drug Traffic (Stanford Studies in Middle Eastern and Islamic Societies and Cultures)

This book by Jonathan Marshall has a unique approach to the issue of corruption in Lebanon. Marshall reviews old secret government records to uncover for the first time the story of how Lebanon’s economy and political system were corrupted by drug profits and how, by financing its many ruthless militia, Lebanon’s drug trade contributed to the country’s greatest catastrophe, its fifteen-year civil war from 1975 to 1990. This book sheds new light on the dangerous role of vast criminal enterprises in the collapse of states. It also looks at the creation of war economies that thrive in the midst of civil conflicts.


2- Lebanon: A House Divided

The author Sandra Mackey presents a seminal study of Lebanon’s past, present, and future. Lebanon is a nation impossible to ignore. Yet, Lebanon is a nation which is divided in many ways. Adding to the woes is the constant power struggle between the Arabs and the West.

Mackey delineates the multifarious culture that is Lebanon. She strips away each part of the complex stigma which is associated with the Lebanese politics. Each component is brought into focus, priming readers on the conflicts between Syria and Lebanon, amongst others. This book is a good guide to understand the complex history of Lebanon to appreciate the ground realities.


3- Spoils of Truce

In this book, Reinoud Leenders has documented the extensive corruption which came along with the reconstruction of Lebanon at the end of civil war. Signing of the Ta’if peace accord in 1989 marked an era of a new functioning state apparatus to meet the critical demands. However, graft was rampant despite the needs of the citizens. Thos book has described the extent and nature of corruption in key sectors of the Lebanese economy and government. Sectors include transportation, health care, energy, natural resources, construction, and social assistance programs.

What sets this apart from the other books on corruption in Lebanon is Leenders’ approach. He has a disaggregated approach to dissecting the politics of creating and reshaping state institutions. This method complements typical quantitative methods used in the study of corruption.


Academic Papers About Corruption in Lebanon

There are several important academic papers written on the state of corruption in Lebanon available online. I have provided the must read from the lot:

1- Patrons, Clients and Civil Society: A Case Study of Environmental Politics in Postwar Lebanon

This article by Paul Kingston throws light on the existence of corruption in the environmental politics of Lebanon. Lebanon has suffered a great devastation during the war and the article examines the response from the public domain to mitigate the crisis. Check out a copy of the article here.


2- “That Stinks”: News Framing of a Corruption Scandal

This thesis by Monique Myriam Nasrallah focuses on the role played by media in publicizing a scandal and influencing public opinion. She notes that while the Lebanese media outlets heavily covered an event that triggered a nationwide anti-corruption movement named “You Stink”, questions arise on the movement and its underlying scandal’s framing. She examines such an event’s framing which provides valuable insights into the construction of corruption scandals. She draws from the concepts of news framing, political scandals to examine a newspaper’s framing characterisation of the scandal. A copy of her thesis is accessible here.


3- Corruption and economic growth in Lebanon

One of the seminal works in connection with the corruption in Lebanon is by Moe Farida and Fredoun Z. Ahmadi-Esfahani. This paper examines the extent of corruption on economic growth in Lebanon. The authors argue that corruption reduces the country’s standard of living as measured by real per capita GDP. Empirical evidence presented shows that corruption increases inefficiencies in government expenditure and reduces investment and human capital productivity. Access a copy of the paper here.


4- State Corruption in Post War Lebanon: The Relation Between Post War Inclusive Institutions and State Corruption

In this paper, Gulsen Devre argues that power sharing as a conflict management tool has its drawbacks when viewed outside of the pre-dominant liberal peace paradigm. An outcome of power sharing is a state corruption which has been shown through a case of the situation in Lebanon. A copy of the article is available here.


5- How Does Corruption Affect Human Rights: An International Approach and an Analysis of the Lebanese Case with Particular Attention to the Effects of Corruption on the Lebanese Youth

In this paper, Evelyne Schmid presents her observations between the interconnection of corruption and human rights. Schmid argues about the conceptual links between corruption and individual human rights in the context of Lebanon and its youth. The report is a culmination of the work undertaken by the author with the Lebanese Transparency Association in 2004. For a copy of her report, please see here. here.


6- Social Norms and Conditional Corruption: The Case of Lebanon

In this paper, Sarah Hariri Haykal explains the emergence of a conditional norm of corruption on a mesosocial level between culture and structure. She argues that corruption is a result of interactions between individuals through social norms. According to Sarah, the social norm of corruption is determined by the proportion of players who adopt a corruption strategy. She choses Lebanon as her case study to demonstrate that corruption as a phenomenon is contagious and become a social norm.



About the author

Financial advisor to UHNWI, private entities, family offices, and companies. Certified Anti-Corruption Manager from The American Anti-Corruption Institute

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