Case #1104.0

Dealing with Corruption in the Police Force of La Paz

Publication Date: January 01, 1992
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A reform mayor of Bolivia's capital city is taken aback by a consultant's report showing a shocking level of corruption on the part of municipal police-a force whose many duties involve regulation of the city's sprawling open-air markets. Licenses, health inspections and many other forms of public permits are routinely exchanged for money, goods, even sex. What's more, the report concludes that the vast majority of the police could not do their job even if they set out to do so: most are illiterate. In this political management/ethics case, the Harvard-educated mayor must decide both whether and how to attempt to reform this system, at a time when he is facing re-election and is widely viewed as a "technocrat."

Learning Objective:
This case can be used to gain insights into the difficulties in restructuring a corrupt institution in an international setting where due to ingrained customs, parties involved are resistant to change. Given details of the situation facing the mayor, the students can put themselves into his role and decide on potential solutions.

Other Details

Teaching Plan:
Available with Educator Access
Case Author:
Lucy Mccauley
Faculty Lead:
Marc Roberts
Pages (incl. exhibits):
South America, Peru