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Guide to using corruption measurements and analysis tools for development programming

Development practitioners routinely encounter corruption as a key obstacle to achieving their programming objectives. They confront questions such as: How serious is corruption in the country and sector in which we are working? Is it getting worse or better? What corrupt practices are taking place and where? Why? Who is involved in corruption? Who does corruption harm? Corruption research has responded with a plentiful supply of indices, scores, ranking and assessments to help answer them. However, it is not always clear what these tools really tell us, or how we can or should use them. This Guide explains how corruption and measurements can help solve real-world challenges of designing, implementing, monitoring and evaluating programmes.

7 March 2019
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Guide to using corruption measurements and analysis tools for development programming

Main points

  • Static analyses, such as integrity system studies and corruption ‘measures’ may identify problems and areas of risk. Dynamic analyses, such as political economy assessments, identify drivers of corruption, as well as opportunities and constraints for addressing them.
  • Corruption and reform in a particular sector or function of government may be influenced by factors outside that sector or function. Therefore it is important to explore elements of the broader system (for example public financial management) that can help explain corruption problems.
  • Causality and attribution problems make the overall level of corruption an inappropriate outcome or even impact-level indicator.
  • Multiple sources of information are usually needed to create a robust evidence base for the evaluation findings.
  • Internationally-generated data sources seldom tell us what we need to know for programming. ‘Homegrown’ data such as administrative statistics, targeted surveys and bespoke proxy indicators are almost always more likely to reflect the actual effects of a given programme.

Cite this publication

Hart, E.; (2019) Guide to using corruption measurements and analysis tools for development programming. Bergen: U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, Chr. Michelsen Institute (U4 Guide 2019:1)

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About the author

Elizabeth Hart

Liz Hart is an international development practitioner with more than twenty years of experience in analysing governance and corruption challenges and designing and implementing efforts to address them. She currently leads the Targeting Natural Resource Corruption (TNRC) project at the World Wildlife Fund. TNRC works to strengthen anti-corruption knowledge and practice in natural resource management and conservation, toward the larger goal of reducing the threats that corruption poses to fisheries, forests and wildlife. In addition to a 14-year career with USAID, Liz was formerly the director of the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre and an active consultant in governance, anti-corruption and development. She holds a Ph.D. in political science from Princeton University in the USA.


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)


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