Research Topics


The U4 Blog

Learning & events

About Us

U4 Brief

The promise and perils of data for anti-corruption efforts in international development work

Big and open data sources can empower development practitioners and aid recipients to reduce the harmful effects of corruption in development. Data on public procurement, campaign contributions, asset disclosure and other data types can be useful in this regard. Find out how you may apply such data for anti-corruption efforts, but be aware of challenges to using data effectively. This includes disclosure thresholds, technical complexities, a need to interpret the data, and a lack of consistent standards for dataset construction.

20 October 2018
Download PDF

Main points

  • Analysing detailed administrative data can enable anti-corruption practitioners to identify individual instances of corruption.
  • It can also help governments, practitioners, and donors measure the prevalence of corruption and compare outcomes over time and across jurisdictions.
  • Finally, it can also allow donors and practitioners to evaluate the impact of particular interventions on corruption more accurately.
  • Key challenges to using data for these purposes include the credibility, clarity, and complexity of the data, but also the need to interpret the data to derive specific conclusions from it and differences in cultural and legal contexts that frustrate easy comparisons across jurisdictions.

Cite this publication

Berliner, D.; Dupuy, K.; (2018) The promise and perils of data for anti-corruption efforts in international development work. Bergen: U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, Chr. Michelsen Institute (U4 Brief 2018:7)

Download PDF

About the authors

Daniel Berliner

Dr. Daniel Berliner is Assistant Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at the Department of Government, London School of Economics.

Kendra Dupuy

Dr. Kendra Dupuy is a political economist working on research about natural resource and energy management, the education sector, and civil society. Formerly a Senior Adviser at U4, she is currently an affiliated researcher at the Chr. Michelsen Institute.


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)