Democracy’s Tripwire: Global Corruption and Whistleblowing in Europe and the U.S.

This paper compares whistleblower protection politics in Europe and the United States to bring into fuller relief the vital role insider truth-telling plays in combatting global corruption, keeping elites honest, and sustaining liberal democracy.

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Misconduct by those in high places is dangerous to reveal, even in political regimes that protect freedom of expression. Whistleblowers in democracies thus face a paradox: by challenging and exposing transgressions by the powerful, they perform a vital public service; yet without the sustained support of the voting public, they always suffer for it. This paper compares whistleblower protection politics in Europe and the United States to bring into fuller relief the vital role insider truth-telling plays in combatting global corruption, keeping elites honest, and sustaining liberal democracy.

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