Curbing Corruption in Brazilian Environmental Governance: A Collective Action and Problem-solving Approach

  • Rafael Küster de Oliveira
  • Cleverson Vitório AndreoliEmail author
  • Priscila da Mata Cavalcante
Part of the CSR, Sustainability, Ethics & Governance book series (CSEG)


Brazil is much privileged with biodiversity and ecosystem services. However, the poor implementation of its environmental policies may offer fertile ground for corruption, thereby endangering ecosystem protection. It is widely agreed that corruption thrives where impunity prevails. This view lies with principal-agent theory. Nevertheless, the limited outcomes of anti-corruption interventions worldwide cast doubts on whether corruption can be sufficiently explained by principal-agent theory alone. In this context, we discuss corruption in Brazil’s environmental governance in light of the theoretical viewpoints of collective action and problem-solving. Drawing on these two perspectives, we argue that environmental policy instruments, such as environmental licensing, might be less prone to corruption by eliminating their major inefficiencies. That is, procedural problems (e.g., excessive bureaucracy, ambiguity in legal procedures and lack of electronic information systems) and absence of legitimacy and scientific credibility. Finally, we introduce the anti-corruption coalition Watershed Environmental Net—Coastal Watershed, from Public Prosecutor’s Office of Paraná State, and touch on corruption from a more closely principal-agent perspective. These three perspectives shed light on distinct and yet important issues regarding curbing corruption in Brazil’s environmental governance. Therefore, it is imperative that they be viewed as complementary rather than alternative approaches.


Environmental licensing Environmental impact assessment Ecosystem services Amazon Corporate social responsibility 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rafael Küster de Oliveira
    • 1
  • Cleverson Vitório Andreoli
    • 2
    Email author
  • Priscila da Mata Cavalcante
    • 3
  1. 1.Pontifical Catholic University of Paraná (PUCPR)CuritibaBrazil
  2. 2.Higher Institute of Administration and Economy of Mercosur (ISAE/FGV)CuritibaBrazil
  3. 3.Public Prosecutor’s Office of Paraná State (MPPR)ParanaguáBrazil

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