23. January 2020

"Flying colours for anti-corruption systems... but in practice very little." New report on the future of public spending and the SDGs

The future of public spending

“We see countries where corruption is endemic in spite of them having adopted all the recommended legal and institutional frameworks and best practices. Most receive ratings with flying colours for their formal anti-corruption systems and in practice they do very little.”

This was an observation of Claudia Baez Camargo, Head of Governance Research at the Basel Institute on Governance, in a new report published by The Economist Intelligence Unit and UNOPS. 

The report, entitled The future of public spending: Why the way we spend is critical to the Sustainable Development Goals, concludes that "less wasteful, more efficient government spending practices can free up resources to address a critical funding gap in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)."

In the section on "poor transparency", Claudia Baez Camargo made the point that corruption in public procurement is often driven by relationships of mutual benefit. For example, businesses provide financial support to political campaigns and receive contracts as a reward. 

“Behind some of the most flagrant public procurement corruption scandals, there are informal networks connecting business interests and political elites that are associated because they help each other,” she said.

Find out more about the Basel Institute's research on informal networks, social norms and corruption.