New evidence paper on corruption
What conditions make corruption possible? What are the costs and effects of corruption, and how can it be fought effectively?
A research team led by Alina Rocha Menocal (now on secondment at DLP from the Overseas Development Institute) and Nils Taxell of the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre has written a new evidence paper for DFID that addresses these questions.
Why corruption matters: understanding causes, effects and how to address them (PDF, 2.33MB) is an authoritative assessment of current literature and is intended to provide a key source of synthesised knowledge for governance advisors, practitioners and researchers working on anti-corruption. The paper looks at issues such as the political, economic and social factors that facilitate corruption, the gender dimensions of the debate, the broader developmental impacts of corruption in areas like economic growth and conflict, and the effectiveness of anti-corruption measures.
Key findings include the following.
- Democracy does not in itself lead to reduced corruption
- Women are not necessarily less predisposed to corruption than men
- Corruption has a negative effect on both inequality and the provision of basic services, affecting poor people disproportionately
- The effect of corruption on macroeconomic growth is not clear-cut
- Lack of trust, reduced legitimacy and lack of confidence in public institutions can be both a cause and an effect of corruption
- Anti-corruption measures are most effective when they are integrated into a broader package of institutional reforms
- Public financial management reforms are effective in reducing corruption
- In the right circumstances, social accountability mechanisms and organised civil society can also be effective in combating corruption.
- By contrast, anti-corruption agencies have been considerably less so.
The paper, part of DFID’s series of Evidence Papers, offers an important source of knowledge for those in the field of international development who are working across the anti-corruption agenda. It will also be added to the UK Anti-Corruption Plan toolkit, which will help co-ordinate action among UK Government aid staff in developing countries.