Do anticorruption messages work? Emerging findings and their relevance for Papua New Guinea

Most anticorruption programs now include awareness raising about corruption and about efforts to tackle it, but there is little evidence available to tell us how effective these messages are. This three-page brief summarises what we know from research so far, and discusses the potential impact of anticorruption messages in Papua New Guinea (PNG). 

It highlights that:
 
  • Recent scholarship has suggested that campaigns to raise awareness about corruption to inspire citizens to fight it may actually backfire. By heightening people’s worries about corruption, awareness-raising messages may make them feel overwhelmed by the problem and discourage them from reporting corruption they encounter. 
  • A survey experiment in Jakarta has shown that even positive messages – about anticorruption successes or how easily citizens can report corruption – can reduce citizens’ belief that they can easily join the fight against corruption.
  • If awareness-raising efforts are effective, they may inspire people to target those acts they see as most corrupt, but these may not be the ones – such as bribery or fraud – that anticorruption campaigners hope to target.
  • For the many Papua New Guineans who lack trust in their government’s ability and willingness to fight corruption, awareness-raising messages are unlikely to inspire them to report it.
  • Given that the majority of PNG citizens think their government is corrupt, awareness-raising messages may backfire by prompting them to recall this preconceived notion.
  • A survey experiment in Port Moresby will shed more light on these potential risks by examining whether and how different awareness-raising messages influence Papua New Guineans’ perceptions of corruption and the fight against it.
 

About DLP

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.

Find out more

News

Doing Development Differently workshop - Jakarta 2017

Thursday 30th March 2017

Putting the concept of Thinking and Working Politically into practice was at the heart of a workshop on 15-16 March attended by more than 200 delegates from the field of international development. Delegates from the government, civil service and local organisations of the host country, Indonesia, were joined by academics, including DLP researchers, and staff from donor organisations and NGOs.

Read more

DLP shares research at FCO Africa Study Day

Monday 27th March 2017

DLP findings on the Democratic Republic of Congo were among the topics discussed with with UK diplomats and civil servants at the FCO's Africa Study Day, held at Sandhurst on 21 March. This year's Foreign and Commonwealth Office event was organised by University of Birmingham's International Development Department, home to DLP.

Read more

Follow: @dlprog