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Corruption risk assessments: country case studies highlight advantages and challenges of diverse approaches

Our research on corruption risk assessments (CRAs) identifies three main approaches: centralised, decentralised, and transparency-oriented methodologies. Case studies from the Netherlands, Lithuania, Mexico, and Italy highlight the role of resource and institutional constraints in the choice of approach, and the importance of ensuring high-quality, complete, and accessible data. To ensure the mitigation of the identified risks, CRA should include systematic and explicit recommendations for assessed entities to follow up.

7 May 2023
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Corruption risk assessments: country case studies highlight advantages and challenges of diverse approaches

Main points

  • Despite high-level commonalities, corruption risk assessments (CRAs) are very diverse in terms of specific goals, data and methodology used, stakeholders, and impact mechanisms.
  • The institutional environment for CRAs and their constraints are a major reason behind diversity of approaches. The different public bodies that develop and implement CRAs can impose centralised data collection and analysis to different degrees. The institutional mandate, political constraints, and the corresponding resources allocated also determine the scope and depth of a CRA.
  • Case studies from diverse countries – the Netherlands, Lithuania, Mexico, and Italy – point at three broad types of methodologies: i) a centralised approach implementing a systematic assessment of corruption risks carried out by an audit body; ii) a decentralised approach, which typically implies self-assessment carried out by public bodies; and iii) a transparency-oriented approach, which aims to increase the availability of corruption risk information and relies on third parties such as civil society to act on the results.
  • Many CRAs focus on corruption risks in laws, regulations, and organisational policies rather than on their implementation. Some other CRAs aim to identify corruption risks in policy implementation in fields as diverse as public procurement, farm subsidies, or government human resource management.
  • Effective CRAs involve systematic and explicit requirements for assessed entities to follow up on risks identified and recommendations made. Given the complexity of the analytical task and political sensitivities, CRAs typically yield positive results only after years of operation (and when implementation is continuously monitored).

Cite this publication

Poltoratskaia, V. ; Fazekas, M. (2023) Bergen: U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, Chr. Michelsen Institute (U4 Issue 2023:2)

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About the authors

Viktoriia Poltoratskaia

Viktoriia is a PhD candidate at Central European University (CEU) in Vienna and senior analyst at Government Transparency Institute. In her independent research, Viktoriia works on clientelism and electoral corruption in Russia, with the focus on identifying strategies of the ruling party on vote buying and electoral inducement.

Mihály Fazekas

Mihály Fazekas is an associate professor at the Central European University, Department of Public Policy, with a focus on using Big Data methods to understand the quality of government globally. He is also the scientific director of an innovative think tank, the Government Transparency Institute (GTI). He has a PhD from the University of Cambridge, where he pioneered Big Data methods to measure and understand high-level corruption in Central and Eastern Europe.


All views in this text are the author(s)’, and may differ from the U4 partner agencies’ policies.

This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International licence (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)