PublicationsThe U4 Blog

U4 Issue

Identifying feasible, high-impact anti-corruption interventions

The case of Albania

In developing and transition countries, blanket anti-corruption efforts often fail due to economic constraints and political resistance. In such contexts, development practitioners should target specific anti-corruption interventions that promise highest impact and feasibility. This report presents six steps to help practitioners identify priority sectors and interventions, using the case of Albania as an illustration.

19 May 2020
Download PDFRead short version
Identifying feasible, high-impact anti-corruption interventions

Main points

  • In low- and low-middle-income economies, the primary aim of development practitioners should not be to reduce corruption across the board by establishing or strengthening a national legal-institutional framework for anti-corruption. Rather, practitioners should target their efforts to specific spaces (or ‘sectors’) where corruption is particularly damaging and donor interventions are less constrained.
  • In these sectors, anti-corruption reforms are more likely to be both impactful, in that they promote important development outcomes, and feasible, in that implementation failure is less of a risk. Sectors with a favourable combination of impact and feasibility should be targeted and prioritised at the level of programming and budgeting.
  • Having selected a favourable space or sector for intervention, practitioners should identify specific corruption practices in the sector and classify them along the impact and feasibility dimensions. Successful anti-corruption interventions will target corrupt practices that are very damaging but also amenable to change.
  • In promising sectors, it is important to identify and mobilise actors who are motivated to drive and/or demand change.
  • In Albania, education is a sector in which targeted anti-corruption interventions could have a relatively large positive impact, albeit subject to the feasibility constraints imposed by the political and economic context. In the short to medium term, donor agencies and anti-corruption practitioners should consider targeting efforts to this sector.
  • Within the education sector, practitioners should think about creative ways to mobilise the student movement in the fight against corruption. A pay-for-performance system, a reform of academic promotions, an awareness-raising campaign, and use of external monitoring when allocating research funds are potentially promising anti-corruption tools that warrant further consideration.
  • In order to plan and implement evidence-based interventions, donors should also gather and analyse more systematic evidence on the correlates and determinants of education-specific corruption in Albania.

Cite this publication

Uberti , L. (2020) Bergen: U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, Chr. Michelsen Institute (U4 Issue 2020:9)

Download PDFRead short version

About the author

Luca J. Uberti

Dr. Luca J. Uberti is Alexander Nash Fellow at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London (UK), and is also affiliated with the UCL Centre for Comparative Studies of Emerging Economies. Luca’s research is in the area of political economy, institutional economics, and development, with a particular focus on the causes and consequences of corruption in emerging economies. His work has appeared in Journal of Development Studies, Development and Change, and Economic Systems, among other outlets. He has also provided policy advice to USAID and Kosovo’s Ministry of Trade and Industry.

Contact details:


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)


Xhoni Mykaj