Attitudes towards aid and corruption

DLP Director Heather Marquette and Deputy Director David Hudson present research on attitudes towards aid and corruption to the OECD’s Anti-Corruption Task Team in Paris this week.

Over the last two years, a series of DLP research projects and outputs have examined the issue of aid and corruption. Much of the work has been commissioned by the Gates Foundation. The team's aim has been to move away from the commonly-held view among the development community that public discussion of corruption isn’t helpful. DLP research has focused on how to help donors and practitioners acknowledge and confront this complex problem while still retaining – and perhaps even building – public support for aid.

Last year Heather wrote a communications note for the OECD. In it, she argues that the development community’s belief that open discussion of corruption will alienate taxpayers is itself driving away support. This approach allows simplistic views of corruption to dominate the public debate unchallenged. At next week’s meetings, she will discuss how she has used the note to make the case for a more frank and sophisticated communications strategy that helps donors, policy makers and practitioners engage with and inform the wider debate on corruption in developing countries. Donors will offer case studies of how they have been able to use her note to refine their communication strategies.

David Hudson will present the latest findings from his work on public attitudes towards aid, and how support for aid is influenced by the messages people encounter about the nature and extent of corruption in developing countries. David is part of a Gates Foundation-funded research team that is gathering data from a large multi-wave (2013-2018), multi-country survey project. The results so far suggest that when donors and practitioners talk in detail about how they are trying to counter corruption, this can restore support for aid from the general public.

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The Developmental Leadership Program (DLP) is an international research initiative that explores how leadership, power and political processes drive or block successful development.

DLP focuses on the crucial role of home-grown leaderships and coalitions in forging legitimate political settlements and institutions that promote developmental outcomes, such as sustainable growth, political stability and inclusive social development.

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