When the Independent Courts Get Corrupt Candidates Away from Elections

University of São Paulo


In the last years, I have researched how anti-corruption and judicial institutions perform in the fight against corruption, as well as their impact on the political system. During my Ph.D., I have found evidence that independent anti-corruption institutions, even when protected by large independent guarantees, have incentives to behave with political bias and to provide a competitive advantage to specific parties. On the other hand, independent courts may have fewer incentives to control corruption with political bias if higher court judges are granted the task to review decisions taken by the lower courts. In addition to preventing the political bias of anti-corruption agents from being inserted into final decisions, independent courts may punish corrupt public agents and so improve the quality of public policies. Therefore, the Anxieties of Democracy scholarship will be a great opportunity to continue to develop this research agenda, which may afford relevant analyses for the public and academic debates about the quality of democracy.

Research Team

Principal Investigator

Thiago do Fonseca

PhD Candidate, University of São Paulo

  • Bio ▾

    Thiago N. Fonseca is a PhD candidate in Political Science with expertise in corruption, elections, and judiciary. His research agenda inquiries the impact of anti-corruption policies and institutions on political competition and the quality of public policies. The methodological framework includes text analysis, machine learning, and quasi-experimental methods.

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