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Advancing corruption prevention in Ukraine: a constructive approach

Ukraine’s anti-corruption agenda continues to proceed at an impressive pace even in the context of war. Even so, this paper argues that a focus on institutions and enforcement needs to be balanced with a focus on addressing some of the underlying constraints on anti-corruption. Introducing the concept of constructive prevention, which is about developing strategies to incentivise anti-corruption, the paper provides recommendations to boost some of the social foundations for anti-corruption.

10 June 2024
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Advancing corruption prevention in Ukraine: a constructive approach

Main points

  • Anti-corruption in Ukraine is often thought of as having three main policy agendas that should work in synergy: legalistic, enforcement (punitive) and preventive.
  • Prevention is an important concept, though it is never clearly defined in anti-corruption. In fact, there are two types of prevention in anti-corruption: deterrent prevention and constructive prevention. Deterrent prevention seeks to disincentivise corrupt behaviour, whereas constructive prevention seeks to incentivise anti-corruption.
  • Constructive prevention aims to incentivise anti-corruption by strengthening the social foundations of anti-corruption in a way that deterrent prevention cannot do. It does so by addressing systemic constraints on the willingness of individuals, communities, businesses, public actors, and organisations to actively contribute to an anti-corruption agenda.
  • Constructive prevention has been mostly secondary in Ukraine. However, it can help anti-corruption become more sustainable. In particular, analysts have already pointed out that there is a risk that EU accession approaches that emphasise legal compliance and institutional development could result in only partially implemented reforms that do not change the underlying drivers of social and political behaviour.
  • We recommend actions that the Government of Ukraine, the international community, the National Agency on Corruption Prevention, local governments, civil society and business can take to improve constructive prevention.

Cite this publication


Jackson, D.; Huss, O.; Keudel, O.; (2024) Advancing corruption prevention in Ukraine: a constructive approach. Bergen: U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, Chr. Michelsen Institute (U4 Issue 2024:03)

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About the authors

Dr. David Jackson leads U4’s thematic work on informal contexts of corruption. His research explores how an understanding of social norms, patron-client politics, and nonstate actors can lead to anti-corruption interventions that are better suited to context. He is the author of various book chapters and journal articles on governance issues and holds degrees from Oxford University, the Hertie School of Governance, and the Freie Universität Berlin.

Oksana Huss

Dr Oksana Huss’s areas of expertise cover (anti-)corruption and social movements, as well as open government and digital technologies. Oksana obtained her doctoral degree at the Institute for Development and Peace in Germany and has held several research fellowships in Canada, France, the Netherlands, and Sweden. She has consulted forinternational organisations, such as the Council of Europe, EU, UNESCO, and UNODC. Oksana is a co-founder of the Interdisciplinary Corruption Research Network and author of the book How Corruption and Anti-Corruption Policies Sustain Hybrid Regimes: Strategies of political domination under Ukraine’s presidents in 1994-2014. 

Oleksandra Keudel

Oleksandra Keudel is an assistant professor at the Department of Public Policy and Governance at Kyiv School of Economics. In her research, she focuses on local democracy, social movements, and civic engagement as well as business-political arrangements at the local level in Ukraine. Oleksandra is also a consultant on open government, anti-corruption policies, and public integrity for international organisations(including the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe and IIEP-UNESCO). She holds a PhD in political science from the Free University of Berlin, an MSc in international administration and global governance from the University of Gothenburg, and an MA in international information from the Kyiv Institute of International Relations.

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All views in this text are the author(s)’, and may differ from the U4 partner agencies’ policies.

This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International licence (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

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