Controlling Corruption in Development Aid: New Evidence from Contract-Level Data

Dávid-Barrett, E., Fazekas, M., Hellmann, O., Márk, L. and McCorley, C. (2020). Controlling Corruption in Development Aid: New Evidence from Contract-Level Data. Studies in Comparative International Development.

Following scandals about corruption in foreign aid, and in a political climate that increasingly questions the legitimacy of development assistance, donors are under pressure to better control how their funds are spent. However, there is little evidence on precisely how to control corruption in development aid. This article assesses under which conditions donor regulations are successful in controlling corruption in aid spent by national governments through procurement tenders. The article analyses data on …

Read More

How to define and measure corruption

Mungiu-Pippidi A. and Fazekas M. (2020). How to define and measure Corruption. In Alina Mungiu-Pippidi & Paul M. Heywood (eds.) A Research Agenda for Studies of Corruption. Ch. 2. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham.

The measurement of corruption is an essential part of this policy-driven intellectual endeavour. As a United Nations Development Programme review report stated: ‘To put it plainly, there is little value in a measurement if it does not tell us what needs to be fixed’ (UNDP 2008, p. 8). While scholars are entitled to study corruption and anti-corruption from a variety of angles and to hope they will discover …

Read More

Corruption and the Network Structure of Public Contracting Markets across Government Change

Wachs J. and Fazekas M. (2020). Corruption and the Network Structure of Public Contracting Markets across Government Change. Politics and Governance, 8(2), pp. 153-166.

Corruption is thought to affect developed economies to a greater degree than developing countries. However, given our limited capacity to detect corruption, it may simply be harder to detect it in countries with stronger institutions. This article sets out to address this measurement challenge and to offer a tailored approach to one particular type of corruption: high-level corruption in government contracting. We describe a recently developed method to score procurement contracts for corruption risk. Then, using …

Read More

The role of agencification in achieving value-for-money in public spending

Cingolani L. & Fazekas, M. (2020). The role of agencification in achieving value-for-money in public spending. Governance. Available online: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/gove.12452

Agencification has been pursued globally under the promise of increasing public administration performance. In spite of ample theoretical arguments, the empirical evidence on the causal link between agencification and performance remains scarce and methodologically contested. We contribute to this debate by empirically testing the impacts of agencification across Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom on value-for-money, competitiveness, and timeliness during the period 2006201 6. We use unique administrative datasets, enabling objective and granular measurements of reforms

Read More

Anti-corruption in aid-funded procurement: Is corruption reduced or merely displaced?

David-Barrett E. and Fazekas, M. (2020). Anti-corruption in aid-funded procurement: Is corruption reduced or merely displaced? World Development. Available online: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.worlddev.2020.105000

Given a widespread sense among donors that mainstream anti-corruption reforms over the past 25 years have failed to yield results, there is a move towards more targeted interventions. Such interventions should, in principle, overcome implementation gaps and make it easier to evaluate impact, supporting learning. However, when interventions are narrowly targeted, there is a risk that corrupt actors simply adapt, shifting their focus to areas with weaker controls, so that overall corruption is not reduced but merely displaced. We …

Read More