Click a flag for an approximate translation.
Add to reading list
An ‘issue’ is a specific problem. It is not a broad category like grand/petty, need/greed, political/ bureaucratic, institutional/individual.We try to be specific about the corruption type, so that you can start to direct remedial actions against it. So, ‘corruption due to a non-meritocratic civil service’ would not be a corruption type because it is so broad. Instead, we break it down into several more detailed and therefore more manageable corruption types. Similarly, ‘collusion’ is not a corruption type because it is so general.
First, we separate corruption issues that are different from one sector to another by treating each sector differently – this is the basis of CurbingCorruption. For example, in policing, there will be various forms of corruption at a high political level, such as allowing organised crime in specific areas or ensuring that independent oversight is permanently weak; corruption in the management of the police service, such as improperly promoting some officers or permitting officers to stay in lucrative positions; corruption and lack of integrity in personal behaviour, such as evidence tampering or demanding illegal fines; and so on. Similar differentiation exists in every sector: e.g. the corrupt police behaviour examples above are quite different from pharmaceutical-related corruption types within the health sector, which again are very different phenomena from the corruption in relation to passing school exams within the education sector.
Second, whilst some of the corruption issues are clearly sector-specific, as discussed above, others that seem to be generic also have significant differences from one sector to another. For example, the corrupt diversion of salaries en-route from the ministry to the worker or promotions that are driven by corrupt payments not by merit. Whist these look to be similar phenomena, the modalities by which the corruption takes place and is facilitated are usually very different in one sector from another. The reforms are similarly likely to be different from one sector to another. Our experience is that this is true for all the ‘generic’ types of corruption, whether it be corruptly influencing policy, favouritism in appointments and promotions, small-scale facilitation payments, and so forth.
Too much complexity renders a problem much harder to solve. Our experience is that 20-40 different issues is enough to provide granularity, and not so much as to overwhelm with complexity. The, grouping the issues according to who the reforming organisation is helpful. So, we categorise the issues into 5 or 6 groups, such as ‘leadership level’, ‘finance’, ‘procurement’, ‘personnel’ and ‘operations’. Sometimes these can be made more specific, such as ‘corruption at school level’ to distinguish it from ‘corruption at Education Ministry level’.
Doing this analysis can be a two-hour exercise or it can be a six month one. The quick way is always attractive. Your own staff are usually well aware of the corruption issues, often with extensive experience of working in large, complex, bureaucratic environments. Hence, they are likely to be the best informed about what the corruption problems are, which ones can be tackled, and which ones need to be left for later. You might give them the list of corruption from the relevant sector review in CurbingCorruption and ask a group of them to analyse which are the more relevant ones and their relative importance. This simple approach has the advantage that you can quickly capture the ‘top of mind’ knowledge of your senior professionals. It has some disadvantages, notably that it is likely to focus on the more immediate issues.
In the mid-range, you may have specialist groups with extra knowledge, like internal audit groups, regulatory agencies and professional fraud groups. Together with external groups like community groups, private sector associations and civil society, you can get a more inclusive analysis done, still quite quickly. It has the same disadvantages as above.
At the most thorough end of the spectrum, you can get a detailed analysis done by groups with professional anti-corruption knowledge, if possible combined with sector expertise. These groups might sit within universities, or civil society, or think tanks. Such analyses are likely to take from two months to six months. In large initiatives, there are several analytical techniques you can consider, as mentioned below. There is also an obvious and often sizeable political advantage to having a thorough, independent analysis done of the corruption issues and risks. If you have time and funds, we recommend that you do a thorough analysis.
Defence sector example – Poland
At a time when it was recognised that there was considerable corruption within the Polish military and defence forces, the Polish MoD team identified eight high-risk corruption areas: defence procurement, R&D projects, development projects , disposal of surplus property, conscript procedures, lack of meriticracy in appointments and promotions, and defence investments. The mInistry decided to focus on just one aspect of one problem: bribery involving top officials in high-value defence procurements. The chosen solution was a preventive monitoring reform measure, in which the minister established a small but full-time task force of four people inside the Defence Minsitry with the remit to review and reject tenders and technical specifications where there was a suspicion of bias. This was a low profile reform, but with a chance of success because the Defence Minister was supportive of greater integrity as one way of improving the reputation of Polish defence forces in NATO. The reform was largely successful and the task force has been an established feature of the MoD for ten years now.
There are lots of different methodologies and names for corruption analysis tools, but they all do much the same thing. They aim to develop concrete insights regarding forms of corruption, the extent of each, and the vulnerabilities in the particular sector or agencies or functions. The purpose is to focus the application of practical prevention measures. They use a simple methodology. First, they identify the underlying laws, regulations, and guidelines governing the target agency or function.
Then, they identify the main processes; Identify key steps (both formal and informal) for each business process; Assess strengths and vulnerabilities to corruption of each step (based on weaknesses in the formal system and weaknesses in the capacity/ incentives to implement the formal system).
Then they make some estimation of the scale of each one, usually through survey information. They might be able to access existing surveys that provide information on the perceived scale of the corruption types, or they may commission a survey, or they may do their own. These can be small – a ‘straw poll’ of 50 people – or they can be large. One analysis that I have been involved in, of Education corruption in Afghanistan, developed its own survey data from 550 interviews.
Here are three such analysis techniques: Vulnerability to Corruption Analysis (VCA), Public expenditure tracking surveys (PETS) and Quantitative Service Delivery Surveys (QSDS). There are others that are more community based, such as citizen report cards.
Three formal corruption analysis techniques – Read more
Systematic analysis of vulnerabilities to corruption/abuse is necessary to identify problems, select priorities, and sequence interventions in a sector-wide approach. Various organisations have provided guidance on how to do such assessments, such as IRI (2018), DFID (2010 – Health Sector application), USAID (2006), European Union (2010) and UNODC (2005). VCAs aim at developing concrete insights regarding forms of corruption, sources, implications, extent, and vulnerabilities to corruption in particular sectors, agencies, and functions in order to develop practical prevention measures. The VCAs use a simple methodology focused on analysis of key government business processes. This approach normally involves initial meetings, usually with the most senior members of staff for each area, followed by observations of work places and processes, and then return meetings with wider groups of staff to discuss, review, and revise information on business processes. Efforts are made to understand both the formal (de jure) and informal (de facto) processes that are in place and operative. The VCAs in general follow these steps.
The most extensive analyses of corruption issues using VCA has been pioneered by the Afghanistan Anti-Corruption Committee (2017), commonly known as ‘MEC’. MEC is the premier anti-corruption entity in Afghanistan, set up by Presidential decree in 2010, led by a Committee of six (three eminent Afghans and three international experts), and with an Afghan Secretariat of some 25-professional staff. It is funded by international donors.
Here is the description of their VCA on education, which covered the whole of the school education sector:
PETS is a World Bank tool, and it is a formal process to set one up and get it carried out. On the other hand, they can provide very comprehensive data on a particular sector. The discussion of them below comes from Poisson 2010 in the application of PETS in education: “PETS surveys aim to “follow the money trail” (mainly non-salary expenditures), from the central ministry of education level right down to the school level. These studies permit the calculation of rates of “leakage” in these flows, which have been shown to range from 87 per cent of the per-capita subsidy paid to primary schools in Uganda in 1995 to 49 per cent of the non-wage funds allotted to primary schools in Ghana in 1998. An analysis of the available research has shown that leakage rates can depend on different variables such as school size, location, student poverty level, and teacher profile. For example, in Uganda leakage rates have tended to increase in small schools with less qualified staff who do not feel able to question authorities about the funding that they are supposed to receive. PETS surveys also show that leakage rates can vary depending on funding modalities. Research carried out in Zambia has shown that the leakage rate stood at 10 per cent for rule-based funding applied to primary schools (600 US$ per school, irrespective of the size) versus 76 per cent for the discretionary funding given by local authorities to schools in 2001, thereby illustrating the linkages between leakage rates and funding modalities.“
QSDS is another World Bank tool. This text is again from Poisson 2010 in education: “QSDS surveys are used to collect quantitative data on the efficiency of public spending and the different aspects of “frontline” service delivery usually represented by schools in the education sector. For example, they may be used to measure teacher absenteeism and the percentage of “ghost” teachers that feature on official lists of active teachers. They can also include estimates derived from unannounced spot checks of samples of schools that are considered to be representative. The collection of additional data at school level can provide useful insights into the relationships between corrupt practices and contextual variables – for example, trends in absenteeism and their linkages with variables such as teachers’ age, gender, status and teaching conditions.”
Regarding the factors driving the corruption in each sector, you and your colleagues are likely to know the political and power context. It is valuable to consider this more formally. Who is gaining from each corruption type and why? Who might gain, who might lose from reducing corruption in this specific area? For each corruption type, who are your supporters are and who are the possible spoilers.
Doing such a ‘Political Economy Analysis’ means that these issues are laid out in a structured way and can help decide which corruption types you should address. Here are three simple guides to doing a political economy analysis. You can commission someone to do the analysis formally, or you can follow the steps yourself for an informal analysis.
Whaites 2017 The beginners guide to political economy analysis (PEA)
This guide borrows from the best materials that are available while also adapting some approaches by incorporating wider ideas on politics and institutions. This guide affirms that there should never be an official `orthodoxy’ for PEA and so the emphasis here is on questions, prompts and ideas to help thinking and practice. The note instead focuses on `the essentials’ of PEA as they relate to the following questions:
Why do we do political economy analysis, and what is it?
What kinds of issues and ingredients are often included in a PEA?
How do we make sense of the different varieties of PEA?
What tools are out there to help us conduct a PEA?
What is thinking and working politically?
Hudson Marquette and Waldock 2016 Everyday political analysis
This is a framework for thinking about politics and power called Everyday Political Analysis (EPA). EPA is for anyone who is convinced that politics and power matter, but feels less sure of how to work out what they mean for their programs.This note introduces a stripped-back political analysis framework – stripped down to its barest bones – leaving only the essentials needed to help frontline staff make quick but politically-informed decisions.
ESID 2015 Making political analysis useful - adjusting and scaling
There are three types of analysis – their purpose affects the questions to ask, the intended audience, or even their timing. 1) Agenda-setting analysis aims to establish a shared language and understanding. 2) Problem-solving analysis aims to increase rates of implementation. 3) Influencing analysis aims to develop a political strategy for change. The report encourages organisations to start small and be pragmatic.
If you want to go into more detail, look at the following:
Khan et al (2016) Anti-corruption in adverse contexts: a strategic approach.
The team can now pause at the point where the preparatory work has been done – disaggregation and analysis of the corrruption problems – to have a substantive, informed discussion of what corruption means in their context.One of the eternal difficulties of anti-corrruption efforts is that the term corruption is so easily recognised, yet people have quite different personal models of what it means. The simple tool of the one-page typology presented above is an extremely helpful entry into it. Comprehensible and relevant for anyone working in the sector, it legitimises the reality that corruption is a common problem without the need for euphemisms or skirting round the subject.
The underlying concept here is ‘sense-making’, the process by which people develop a shared understanding of their collective experiences. The concept was introduced in the 1970s by Weick (2001), among others, as part of a movement that shifted thinking about organisations away from decision-making and towards how peoples’ understanding drives organisation behaviour.
One specific technique for advancing this discussion is for groups of those involved to rank the specific issues, then to compare and discuss the reasons for differences in ranking. This is a powerful mechanism for bringing out how the different people round the table view the importance of each individual corruption issue. Depending on the culture and the context, such ranking can be done publicly across a group, or privately, with each participant submitting their list their rankings of the issues for anonymised aggregation. Pyman has led or participated in such exercises in many countries, with groups ranging from just the leadership teams up to conference rooms of 100 and more participants (Pyman 2017).
Here is an example from Botswana, widely regarded as one of the success stories in national level corruption reform. Botswana instituted changes decades ago on land reform, good governance, and institutional design (Mungiu-Pippidi 2015, p.144, Sarraf and Jiwanji 2001).
The military, reviewed corruption issues in defence in a day-long discussion in 2014 facilitated by Transparency International Defence & Security. By ‘voting’ on all the typology corruption issues, the military leadership concluded that the top three concerns were corruption in corrupt use/control of military intelligence, corruption in payroll and promotions, and corruption in contracting. The full voting results, where each leader could cast three votes for their most critical issues, was as follows;
This allowed the Bostwana military authorities to discuss why the particular issues were important and to agree to focus on particular corruption issues in order to frame their anti-corruption reform efforts in the defence sector.
Similar approaches have been used in developing a common approach to corruption reform in the Philippines (see, for example, Johnston 2010). Klitgaard, also advising in the Philippines, uses the term ‘convening’ in place of sense-making (Klitgaard 2019). Sense-making has also come up in the corruption reform literature in the guise of complexity thinking, such as the analysis and understanding of anti-corruption experience in Malawi by Bridges and Woolcock (2017).
Sectors cross national boundaries. The international perspective as it relates to corruption reform may be in one of several forms: knowledge of the corruption issues specific to the sector; experience of addressing those corruption issues in different national and regional environments; specifc initiatives; standards used, aspired to or required in the sector globally; and the sector culture, representing the extent to which sector professionals think alike, tend to work in similar ways, share mental models or have their own language.
There are now several international initiatives for tackling corruption in sectors. Sector organisations include professional sector associations, many of which have an ‘anti-corruption working group’ or similar forums and programmes targeted at integrity measures and transparency measures. Multilateral organisations working in particular sectors, such as the World Health Organisation or the International Customs Organisation, increasingly provide countries with sector-specific support on anti-corrruption. Multi-sectoral international organisations – like the World Economic Forum (WEF), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the World Bank and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) – also now have a strong focus on public integrity and anti-corruption and are able to assist country initiatives. The table below lists some of the main sector-specific anti-corruption bodies.
CoST Infrastructure Transparency Initiative (CoST)
The Open Government Partnership (OGP) ‘Local’ programme
UN Habitat, the UN organisation for a better urban future
These international organisations and initiatives are not just sources of knowledge and ideas, but also offer advice on specific reform measures, as well as support and assistance.
Ang, Yuen Yuen (2014) Authoritarian restraints on on-line activism revisited. Why I-paid-a-bribe worked in India but failed in China. Comparative Politics 47(1), 21-40.
Effective States Institute and inclusive Development Research Centre (2015) Making political analysis useful: adjustment and scaling. http://www.effective-states.org/wp-content/uploads/briefing_papers/final-pdfs/esid_bp_12_PEA.pdf
European Commission (2008) Tools for political economy analysis. Annex A. https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=6&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwiPiKnJ9cfcAhUQM8AKHaHXDswQFjAFegQIBhAC&url=https%3A%2F%2Feuropa.eu%2Fcapacity4dev%2Ffile%2F11174%2Fdownload%3Ftoken%3D1N9xFSAp&usg=AOvVaw0Lh07fhvF1zmLIK_pqM3Z0
Hudson, David, Marquette, Heather and Waldock, Sam (2016) Everyday political analysis. Development Leadership Program, January 2016. http://publications.dlprog.org/EPA.pdf
Khan, Mushtaq, Andreoni, Antonio, Roy, Pallavi (2016) Anti-corruption in adverse contexts: a strategic approach. SOAS Research Online. http://eprints.soas.ac.uk/23495/1/Anti-Corruption%20in%20Adverse%20Contexts%20%281%29.pdf
Whaites, Alan (2017) The beginners guide to political economy analysis. National School of Government international. https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&ved=2ahUKEwj-psnT88fcAhXFRMAKHQNEBqwQFjABegQIAxAC&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.sclr.stabilisationunit.gov.uk%2Fpublications%2Fthe-national-school-of-government-international-series%2F1248-the-beginners-guide-to-pea-1%2Ffile&usg=AOvVaw1PovIUJKNXfPV1dhMKOeG6
Connect with us on LinkedIn
Send the Editor an email