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The efficacy of undercover integrity testing in preventing corruption

Undercover integrity testing involves simulating an event that places an employee, without their knowledge, in a monitored situation with an opportunity for unethical decision-making. It has been used as an integrity measure by law enforcement agencies, customs administrations, and public administration more widely. This Helpdesk Answer assesses its effectiveness, finding it can both detect and deter corrupt behaviour. The Answer also considers operational implications of the measure, including potential legal issues.

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20 November 2023
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The efficacy of undercover integrity testing in preventing corruption

Main points

  • Undercover integrity testing is a measure used by law enforcement and other public agencies in some jurisdictions as an anti-corruption measure.
  • There is evidence of positive effects of this measure, including detecting and deterring corrupt behaviour, encouraging officials to report bribery and identifying the training needs of public officials.
  • Evidence suggests that targeted tests are more effective than random tests as they are more cost-effective and can be tailored to the subject of the test.
  • There are operational implications to consider before implementing integrity testing, such as potential legal issues.

Cite this publication

Resimić, M. (2023) Bergen: U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, Chr. Michelsen Institute (U4 Helpdesk Answer 2023:29)

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Miloš Resimić


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)