Corruption and Aid

No aid modality, agency or recipient is free from corruption risks. Find resources on the scope and nature of these risks and how they can be identified and addressed.

Concern about possible corruption in aid flows and projects has grown with increased pressure on donor aid budgets and greater attention to aid effectiveness. Not every donor, recipient or project will be equally exposed to corrupt practices; the context, modalities, choice of partners, and systems for detection all affect risk levels. Equally important is how aid providers respond and how they promote integrity from within.

 Among the resources in this U4 Theme Page you will:


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Nils Taxell

Senior Advisor

+47 47938075

Interview with Steve Berkman, author of World Bank and the Gods of Lending,

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Author: Susan Rose-Ackerman, Paul D. Carrington (Eds)
Release date: July 2013

Anti-Corruption Policy: Can International Actors Play a Constructive Role?

This edited volume argues that the most effective ways for international actors to limit corruption are not always obvious. Limiting corruption is a means to an end. But the ends of reformers (from addressing economic stagnation to tackling persistent poverty) are not always explicit. International institutions face a related set of issues: how to determine the underlying policy problem, understanding how corruption can exacerbate it, seeking policy levers that might limit the impact of corruption, and identifying appropriate routes for international influence. 

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Author: Persson, A., Rothstein, B., Teorell, J.
Release date: July 2013

Why anti-corruption reforms fail — Systemic corruption as a collective action problem

With an increased awareness of the detrimental effects of corruption on development, strategies to fight it are now a top priority in policy circles. Yet, in countries ridden with systemic corruption, few successes have resulted from the investment. On the basis of an interview study conducted in Kenya and Uganda—two arguably typically thoroughly corrupt countries—we argue that part of an explanation to why anticorruption reforms in countries plagued by widespread corruption fail is that they are based on a theoretical mischaracterization of the problem of systemic corruption. More specifically, the analysis reveals that while contemporary anticorruption reforms are based on a conceptualization of corruption as a principal–agent problem, in thoroughly corrupt settings, corruption rather resembles a collective action problem. This, in turn, leads to a breakdown of any anticorruption reform that builds on the principal–agent framework, taking the existence of noncorruptible so-called principals for granted.


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