Seeds of systemic corruption in the post-Brexit UK

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Purpose: This study aims to assess the risks of systematisation of corruption in the UK following the Brexit referendum. Design/methodology/approach: The study applies theoretical and empirical findings of criminological, social, psychological, economic and legal research on the causes of systemic corruption to the socio-institutional developments following the Leave vote. Findings: The events surrounding the referendum confirm that the resort to corrupt practices is normalised in certain sectors of the British institutions, business and media and that socio-political processes activated by the Leave vote and inadequate UK policymaking and lawmaking can aggravate the situational and socio-psychological enablers of systemic corruption. Effective solutions must go beyond mere anti-corruption laws and address deeper social issues. Research limitations/implications: The study focuses only on some of the major situational and socio-psychological causes of systemic corruption, including the unintended criminogenic effects of the law. More interdisciplinary research is required to address other causes, such as historical and cultural factors. Practical implications: The findings of this study can inspire practical solutions by policymakers and future research. Social implications: The study contributes to raising social awareness and stimulating public discussion on systemic corruption in the UK and on the consequences of the referendum on public and private integrity. Originality/value: The study offers the first systematic analysis of the effects of Brexit and the referendum on corruption through an integrated interdisciplinary approach to systemic corruption in the UK.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)705-718
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Financial Crime
Issue number3
Early online dateMay 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2019


  • Anomie
  • Brexit
  • Corruption proofing
  • Immigration
  • Integrity
  • Lawmaking
  • Legitimacy
  • Lobbying
  • Media
  • Politics
  • Press
  • Systemic corruption

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
  • Law

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  • Activities

    • 2 Participation in conference
    • 1 Public Engagement Event

    ESRC Festival of Social Science

    Lorenzo Pasculli (Convenor), David Ndolo (Co-organiser), Mairi Laird (Co-organiser), Somtobechukwu Nwachukwu Okpala (Co-organiser)
    3 Nov 20196 Nov 2019

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventPublic Engagement Event

    The 37th Cambridge International Symposium on Economic Crime

    Lorenzo Pasculli (Convenor), Umut Turksen (Co-convenor), Dalvinder Singh (Invited Speaker)
    6 Sep 2019

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

    The 36th Cambridge International Symposium on Economic Crime

    Lorenzo Pasculli (Convenor), Umut Turksen (Co-convenor)
    6 Sep 2018

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

    Research Output

    The Corruption of the Law: The Effects of Lawmaking on Systemic Corruption

    Pasculli, L., 3 Apr 2020, (In preparation) Routledge.

    Research output: Book/ReportBook

  • Brexit, integrity and corruption: Local and global challenges

    Pasculli, L., Mar 2019, Corruption in the Global Era: Causes, Sources and Forms of Manifestation. Pasculli, L. & Ryder, N. (eds.). 1 ed. Abingdon: Routledge, p. 212-232 21 p. (The Law of Financial Crime).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

    Press / Media

    The Impact of Brexit on Integrity and Corruption: Local and Global Challenges

    Lorenzo Pasculli


    1 item of Media coverage, 1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Research

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