Research projects

Research lies at the core of our Institute's mission to effectively combat corruption and improve public governance. We dig deep into questions of what drives corrupt behaviour in individuals and why anti-corruption laws are often ineffective.

Time and again, our work reveals that anti-corruption practice must be evidence-based and tailored to each context. What works in one place and time does not necessarily work elsewhere.

Through deep and detailed research in the field, we contribute to current debates and new approaches to tackling public sector corruption in countries around the world. All our research results are freely available to the public.

Scroll down to read about some of our current major research projects.

Researchers

Claudia Baez Camargo

Head of Governance Research
+41 61 205 55 36

Saba Kassa

Public Governance Specialist
+41 61 205 55 11

Cosimo Stahl

Public Governance Specialist
+41 61 205 55 11

Addressing Bribery and Favouritism in the Tanzanian Health Sector: a Behavioural Approach

This project uses a rigorous experimental approach to implement and test the impact of anti-corruption behavioural interventions aimed at addressing bribery and favouritism in the Tanzanian health sector.

The project builds on previous research findings about the crucial role played by informal social networks and social norms of reciprocity in driving bribery and favouritism in the Tanzanian health sector.

The central hypothesis of this study is that, although social networks have been identified as fuelling and perpetuating practices of petty corruption, they can also be harnessed to promote positive anti-corruption behaviours. Specifically, we will work with community opinion leaders to deliver behavioural interventions that have shown promise elsewhere but have often lacked the right delivery mechanism to test their effectiveness at scale.

This two-year project was launched in 2019 with support from the DFID-funded Global Integrity Anti-Corruption Evidence Programme.

Project team

The project’s Principal Investigator is Claudia Baez Camargo, Head of Governance Research at the Basel Institute on Governance. Claudia has three Co-Investigators:

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Informal Governance and Corruption: Transcending the Principal-Agent and Collective Action Paradigms

University College London and SOAS researched informality and its relationship with corruption and governance. A multi-disciplinary team of researchers explored how corruption really works in seven countries in East Africa and Eurasia.

Their findings shed light on why "conventional" anti-corruption practices have been so unsuccessful to date, and on the kinds of policies and interventions that could have a bigger impact in the fight against corruption.

This research was funded by the UK government’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the British Academy through the British Academy/DFID Anti-Corruption Evidence Programme.

The dedicated Informal Governance website for this project provides access to multimedia material synthesising the research findings, including videos, country-by-country  and comparative summaries, policy implications as well as all project-related publications.

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Corruption, Social Norms and Behaviours in East Africa

This project focused on identifying the behavioural factors that influence the propensity of citizens and public service providers to engage in, resist and report corrupt transactions in Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.

Research activities included a semi-systematic literature review on the influence of behavioural factors on corruption and a comparative analysis of the relative effectiveness of different interventions aimed at tackling petty corruption.

With a focus in the health sector, the field research produced evidence suggesting that social expectations, social norms and shared mental models reinforce attitudes of acceptance vis-a-vis certain practices of corruption in Tanzania and Uganda.

In Rwanda, despite similar social norms to Tanzania and Uganda, corruption has become a behaviour that is socially condemned This can be explained by the Rwandan government’s stronger approach to anti-corruption, as well as to the implementation of behavioural insights to public policy such as environmental cues and educational campaigns to promote integrity and communal wellbeing.

Dedicated policy briefs distill the practical implications of the research for practitioners. A comparative analysis delves into the importance of considering behavioural insights to improve anti-corruption outcomes.

This project was implemented from 2016 to 2018 and was funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), through its East Africa Research Fund (EARF).

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