This Working Paper is intended to guide practitioners who are seeking to complement conventional anti-corruption measures by adopting a behavioural communications approach.

It aims to connect a typology of anti-corruption messages with behavioural change theories, and discuss their impact.

Subsequently, it suggests practical implications for designing anti-corruption communication as part of behaviour change interventions. This includes outlining how to develop a robust Theory of Change as a means to enhance the success of such efforts.  

Behaviour change interventions aimed at reducing the social acceptability of wildlife trafficking are an important part of efforts to prevent wildlife crime. This policy brief summarises lessons learned about how to develop and frame effective messages in the context of these interventions, based on field work conducted in Uganda. 

A summary of groundbreaking research into social norms and attitudes towards corruption by our Public Governance team has been published in Ellis, Jane (ed.) Corruption, Social Sciences and the Law – Exploration across the disciplines. Published by Routledge, the book is part of a series entitled The Law of Financial Crime.

This eye-opening exploration of social norms and attitudes towards corruption appears in Chapter 12 of Ellis, Jane (ed.) Corruption, Social Sciences and the Law – Exploration across the disciplines, published by Routledge on 15 May 2019 as part of a series entitled The Law of Financial Crime. See the publisher's flyer with full details of the book and a 20% discount code.

Despite significant investment and anti-corruption capacity building in the past decades, "most systematically corrupt countries are considered to be just as corrupt now as they were before the anti-corruption interventions"(1). Statements like this are indicative of the frustration shared by practitioners and scholars alike at the apparent lack of success in controlling corruption worldwide and point to the need to rethink our understanding of the factors that fuel corruption and make it so hard to abate. 

Corruption is pervasive in Sub-Saharan Africa’s educational sector. The phenomenon includes not only bribery but also practices that the World Bank has labeled "quiet corruption." While anti-corruption interventions tackling such practices are typically based on assumptions of rational decision-making from classical economics, Cosimo analyses petty corruption practices through a behavioural lens.

Conventional anti-corruption approaches advocate for the adoption of legal and institutional reforms in line with international best practices. Nevertheless, these anti-corruption frameworks are often weakly implemented across the Global South. Overcoming these limitations invites the rethinking of some of the core assumptions of anti-corruption practice, which has mainly aimed to address poor accountability and weak law enforcement capabilities of the state.

Power and influence analysis can be used to assess corruption vulnerabilities in the public sector. This approach helps identify powerful stakeholders that should be engaged to achieve maximum impact for anti-corruption strategies. It also helps reveal informal political networks and relationships that can hamper anti-corruption efforts.

Ignorance, apathy and disempowerment are recurring drivers of impunity. Social accountability, on its part, aims to empower citizens with information and provide effective channels through which to exercise agency. 

Authored by Claudia Baez Camargo, Head of Governance Research, this publication guides practitioners towards localising anti-corruption interventions that invite citizen participation in order to make them more effective.

Combatting corruption in the developing world has been a formidable challenge and taken a prominent place in the agenda of the international development community for the last two decades. Nonetheless, the results and outcomes of conventional anti-corruption interventions continue to be modest at best. This is often reflected in the so-called implementation gap, whereby countries adopting sound legal and organisational anti-corruption frameworks continue to experience very high levels of corruption.