Corruption researchers tend to focus a lot of attention on why systemically corrupt countries fail to improve and why anticorruption efforts often fall flat. As such, the field has had a difficult time identifying and explaining how positive change happens in order to inspire new and more effective anti-corruption interventions.
Recent research by Heather Marquette and Caryn Peiffer focuses on the opposite: potential success stories in anti-corruption. Using a novel three-step methodology developed to identify previously hidden ‘positive outliers’, they look at sectors within a country that have successfully reduced bribery against the odds in otherwise systemically corrupt countries. Having identified up to 18 potential cases, they drill down in two ‘positive outlier’ cases - Uganda’s health sector and South Africa’s police - to uncover the political processes and policies that have been responsible for bribery reduction in each case. In doing so, they draw out lessons about how positive changes happened and what can be learned for more successful anti-corruption interventions.
However, their success cases also highlight some important tensions that raise red flags for future interventions, and they look at important lessons from these as well.
We look forward to welcoming Heather Marquette to present the findings and to discuss the potential implications for anti-corruption policy and practice together with Francesca Recanatini from the World Bank.