Corruption was not part of the international research agenda until the 1990s. Partly driven by the waves of democratization and globalization, the theme has gained worldwide attention since then. Recent studies on the subject have consistently maintained that corruption delays and distorts economic development; preempts basic rights and due process; and diverts resources from basic services, international aid, and countries’ economies (Johnston 2005).
The following sections summarize the recent research agenda on corruption in Brazil. The first section analyzes how corruption is being internationally measured and how Brazil scores in the most employed corruption assessments. The second section details how corruption was understood in Brazil before the boom in the international anticorruption agenda. The third section deals with different approaches taken by corruption studies in the country in the last years. In the conclusion, I discuss the growing attention directed to the field due to recent scandals and I stress the need for establishing methodologically and theoretically strong approaches in corruption studies.