Reducing Bureaucratic Corruption: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on What Works

Jordan GANS-MORSE, Mariana BORGES, Alexey MAKARIN, Theresa MANNAH-BLANKSON, Andre NICKOW, Dong ZHANG

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article offers the first comprehensive review of the interdisciplinary state of knowledge regarding anti-corruption policies, with a particular focus on reducing corruption among civil servants. Drawing on the work of economists, political scientists, sociologists, and anthropologists, we examine seven policy categories: (1) rewards and penalties; (2) monitoring; (3) restructuring bureaucracies; (4) screening and recruiting; (5) anti-corruption agencies; (6) educational campaigns; and (7) international agreements. Notably, rigorous empirical evaluation is lacking for the majority of commonly prescribed anti-corruption policies. Nevertheless, we find growing evidence of the effectiveness of policies based on monitoring, including anti-corruption audits and e-governance. In addition, adequate civil service wages seem to be a necessary but insufficient condition for control of corruption. An emerging skepticism regarding the effectiveness of anti-corruption agencies also is apparent in the literature. We conclude with broader lessons drawn from our review, such as the recognition that when corruption is a systemic problem, it cannot be treated in the long term with individual-level solutions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-188
Number of pages18
JournalWorld Development
Volume105
Early online date3 Feb 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2018

Bibliographical note

This research was supported by a Learning Agenda Questions Research Grant from USAID.

Keywords

  • Anti-corruption
  • Bureaucracy
  • Civil service
  • Corruption
  • Interdisciplinary

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