Category Archives: corruption

A user’s guide to measuring corruption

Authors: June,R.; Laberge,M.; Nahem,J.
Produced by: UNDP Oslo Governance Centre (2008)

Over the past few years, a flood of new work has emerged challenging the validity of the traditional measurements of corruption and arguing for new and improved tools for national policy makers, civil society and donors alike. This guide suggests ways of measuring corruption promoting a multiple data sourcing approach and a focus on actionable measurements. It is aimed at national stakeholders, donors and international actors involved in corruption measurement and anti-corruption programming.

This guide is based on more than thirty interviews with individuals from dozens of countries who are working on corruption and governance reforms, including government officials, development practitioners, donor representatives and multilateral specialists. It explains the strengths and limitations of different measurement approaches, and provides practical guidance on how to use the indicators and data generated by corruption measurement tools to identify entry points for anti-corruption programming. Continue reading

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Filed under accountability, corruption, tools, United Nations

TI: how to prevent corruption in humanitarian assistance

Thanks to The 8th Circle

A really fascinating Transparency International (TI) report for those in the NGO industry, but also governments and corporations that provide humanitarian assistance, has just been released. The report’s findings, however, can be applied to non-humanitarian assistance scenarios as well, especially those where large sums of money are allocated.

Below is part of the intro, and the rest is available on TI’s site.

Humanitarian assistance is a lifeline that brings food, shelter and other basic services to millions of people caught in the worst of circumstances through war, famine or natural disaster. However, it often takes place in challenging environments which may include endemic corruption. The sudden injection of large amounts of resources and the urgency of a crisis also create risks of corruption in the delivery of humanitarian aid…Detecting and preventing corruption in relief processes is an urgent priority in order to maximise relief efforts and truly help those in dire need.

If you’re interested in specific anticorruption mechanisms, here is a bullet point summary:

  • Whistleblower mechanisms
  • Codes of conduct that address values, sexual exploitation
  • Strengthening surge capacity
  • Specific policies for human resources, procurement, audits
  • Guidelines for emergency process “overrides”
  • Resource tracking and supply chain management
  • Improving downward accountability

See the press release; full report in PDF.

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Filed under corruption, Disaster Management

Sociology of corruption – the dilemmas of captive minds

Thanks to Fug’s Blog I found a reference to the thought provoking paper’s abstract that I am posting below. The idea of a ‘captive mind’ is precisely what I have been mulling about. Thanks to this paper, I am likely to give a better shape to my raw, unformed ideas –

Sociology of Corruption and ‘Corruption of Sociology’: Evaluating the Contributions of Syed Hussein Alatas

Current Sociology, Vol. 54, No. 1, 25-39 (2006)

Habibul Haque Khondker
National University of Singapore

This article examines corruption as a social problem and a phenomenon that illustrates certain problems in agenda-setting in sociology. Understanding such questions as why corruption remains largely outside the purview of sociology, and how sociological agendas are set can be found in the works of Syed Hussein Alatas, who wrote about corruption as far back as the 1950s. Sociology of corruption as a subfield failed to take off despite the ubiquity of this phenomenon. In recent years, new books have been published, including an updated version of Professor Alatas’s work. Studies of corruption remain a prerogative of the political scientists and public policy experts. Economists see corruption as a market-distorting externality and treat it as a peripheral subject. Gunnar Myrdal, who was an exception, in his Asian Drama, identified corruption as a serious bottleneck for Asian development. The problem persists 40 years on from Myrdal’s analysis. In many countries in the developing world, corruption has become part of the fabric of society. Yet, sociological theorization and empirical studies are lacking. This article examines corruption both as a social problem and an indicator of the ‘corruption of sociology’, drawing on the writings of Alatas, especially his notion of ‘captive mind’ or the absence of intellectual autonomy on the part of the Third World sociologists.


Filed under corruption, Research, sociology

How widespread is corruption in Asia: 1 in 3 poor Indians pay bribes for essential services

Courtesy Eideard Blog

One out of every three families living below the poverty level in India paid a bribe last year for basic public services, like admitting a family member into a hospital.

The report by Transparency International India and the Center for Media Studies said poor people in India paid about $210 million in bribes last year to the police, schools, hospitals and power companies.

The bribes were for basic services, the report said: to file a police report, to enroll a child in school, to admit a family member into a hospital or to get electricity turned on.

“This kind of corruption that denies people their entitlement to basic and need based services, many of which may be ‘free’ by law, results in the poor finding themselves at the losing end of the corruption chain,” said R. H. Tahiliani of Transparency International India.

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Filed under corruption, governance, India, Poverty

25% Pakistani farmers pay bribes for irrigation water’

* TI says in Pakistan officials gain 8 times their salaries in bribes, 10 times in India

BERLIN: In Pakistan a quarter of the rural population is engaged in a hidden but well-known system of side payments to obtain irrigation water, a report by Transparency International (TI) released on Wednesday said.

The corruption tax on farmers for obtaining more water than their entitlements was estimated at 2.5 percent of their income per hectare, it added.

Functioning for decades now, this interlocking incentive system of bribery is considered by many a well-established ‘working rule’. The report said that corruption gains from irrigation have been found to dwarf officials’ above-board incomes. In Pakistan, they were estimated at five to eight times regular salaries, and in India up to ten times. Continue reading


Filed under corruption, Development, Pakistan

Rethinking Governance to Fight Corruption

Came across the insightful Brief by Sue Unsworth which argues that:

the key to more effective anti-corruption strategies is to think differently about governance. Instead of starting with an OECD model of governance in mind, and assessing the gap between the developing country reality and OECD institutions, policymakers would do better to start with fewer assumptions, and some questions. What are the underlying reasons for poor governance and high levels of corruption in so many poor countries? What do we know about the political processes involved in building more effective and acountable public institutions?

Some donors are even talking openly about politics. As the British government’s 2006 White Paper puts it: “Politics determines how resources are used and policies are made. And politics determines who benefits. In short, good governance is about good politics.” (DFID 2006:23). The same paper tells us that building better governance takes time and has to come from a political process within each country: outsiders cannot impose models. Good governance is about how citizens, leaders, and public institutions relate to each other, to make change happen. However, despite these insights, the White Paper goes on to advance a technocratic and largely conventional agenda for enhancing growth and improving basic services, with barely a nod in the direction of politics.

This failure to connect the rhetoric about politics with an operational agenda to improve governance and fight corruption is widespread…

More here

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Filed under Aid, corruption, governance

Why should donors care about corruption?


Ivar Kolstad (2008)

Bergen: Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI Brief vol. 7 no. 1) 4 p.

Download publication

Corruption is bad for donor business. Corruption reduces popular support for aid in donor countries. However, aid agencies should pay attention to corruption because it is the right thing to do, rather than just the smart thing to do. Donor anti-corruption policies require a strong grounding in ethics.

Corruption produces bad development outcomes. This is the reasoning largely underlying donor anti-corruption efforts. The focus on consequences of corruption makes donor anticorruptionefforts vulnerable to interpretation and manipulation, resulting in inconsistent, time-varying and fi ckle policies to combat corruption. An alternative would be to base anticorruption policies on duty-based ethics, where corruption is wrong in and of itself.

This brief examines consequentialist and duty-based arguments against corruption. It also examines the claim that “corruption is acceptable where it is commonly practiced.”

Also read a brilliant analysis of this report at The 8th Circle blog.

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Filed under Aid, corruption, donors