This chapter provides a working definition of transnational corruption, including its history and the elements that constitute the ‘corruption equation’. It then takes a closer look at contemporary corruption by considering two extremes: that of developing States with kleptocratic rulers, and mature industrial democracies. It concludes that in a global environment of contractual uncertainty, corporate actors are under considerable pressure to maintain the economic viability of present and future projects, and ‘the persistence of experienced operators’ in those industries is necessary to produce reasonable returns. In many cases, to help compensate for such uncertainty, corruption is used as a tool to ensure certainty in two areas that may adversely affect their investment: political uncertainty and economic uncertainty.
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