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Anti-corruption policies and programs : a framework for evaluation

  • Huther, Jeff
  • Shah, Anwar

The anti-corruption strategy the World Bank announced in September 1997 defined corruption as the"use of public office for private gain"and called for the Bank to address corruption along four dimensions: 1) Preventing fraud and corruption in Bank projects; 2) Helping countries that request Bank assistance for fighting corruption; 3) Mainstreaming a concern about corruption in Bank work; and 4) Lending active support to international efforts to address corruption. The menu of possible actions to contain corruption (in both countries and Bank projects) is very large, so the authors develop a framework to help assign priorities, depending on views of what does and does not work in specific countries. Their framework, based on public officials'incentives for opportunistic behavior, distinguishes between highly corrupt and largely corruption-free societies. Certain conditions encourage public officials to seek or accept corruption: a) The expected gains from undertaking a corrupt act exceed the expected costs. b) Little weight is placed on the cost that corruption imposes on others. In a country with heavy corruption and poor governance, the priorities in anti-corruption efforts would then be to establish rule of law, strengthen institutions of participation and accountability, and limit government interventions to focus on core mandates. In a country with moderate corruption and fair governance, the priorities would be decentralization and economic reform, results-oriented management and evaluation, and the introduction of incentives for competitive delivery of public services. In a country with little corruption and strong governance, the priorities might be explicit anti-corruption agencies and programs, stronger financial management, increased public and government awareness, no-bribery pledges, efforts to fry the"big fish,"and so on.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 2501.

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Date of creation: 31 Dec 2000
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2501
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  1. Gurgur, Tugrul & Shah, Anwar, 2005. "Localization and corruption : panacea or pandora's box?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3486, The World Bank.
  2. Gerd Schwartz & Réjane Hugounenq & Benedict J. Clements, 1995. "Government Subsidies; Concepts, International Trends, and Reform Options," IMF Working Papers 95/91, International Monetary Fund.
  3. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silane & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1996. "Trust in Large Organizations," NBER Working Papers 5864, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Kaufmann, Daniel & Kraay, Aart & Zoido-Lobaton, Pablo, 1999. "Governance matters," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2196, The World Bank.
  5. Goel, Rajeev K & Nelson, Michael A, 1998. " Corruption and Government Size: A Disaggregated Analysis," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 97(1-2), pages 107-20, October.
  6. Anand V. Swamy & Stephen Knack & Young Lee & Omar Azfar, 2000. "Gender and Corruption," Department of Economics Working Papers 2000-10, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  7. Mauro, Paolo, 1995. "Corruption and Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 681-712, August.
  8. Anwar Shah, 1999. "Governing for Results in a Globalised and Localised World," The Pakistan Development Review, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, vol. 38(4), pages 385-431.
  9. Brunetti, Aymo & Weder, Beatrice, 2003. "A free press is bad news for corruption," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(7-8), pages 1801-1824, August.
  10. Alberto Ades & Rafael Di Tella, 1997. "The New Economics of Corruption: a Survey and Some New Results," Political Studies, Political Studies Association, vol. 45(3), pages 496-515.
  11. Carlos Leite & Jens Weidmann, 1999. "Does Mother Nature Corrupt; Natural Resources, Corruption, and Economic Growth," IMF Working Papers 99/85, International Monetary Fund.
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