Corruption, social norms and behaviours: a comparative assessment of Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda

The UK Department for International Development (DFID), through its East Africa Research Fund (EARF), commissioned the Basel Institute on Governance to conduct the research project “Corruption, Social Norms and Behaviours in East Africa” aiming at shedding light into those “[behavioural] factors that influence the propensity for poor people to engage in, resist and report ‘corrupt transactions’” in three East African countries, namely, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.

Fighting corruption has been high on the political agenda of the governments in Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda for many years. In the three countries, robust anti-corruption legislation and institutions have been put in place but with different substantial results to show for it.

Against this background, the comparative research design covering these three East African countries provides an excellent opportunity to compare the attitudes and experiences of citizens vis-à-vis petty corruption when accessing public services, reflecting how variations in the wider national context impact citizens’ beliefs and behaviours. These different corruption dynamics are captured in the project’s survey results regarding the perceived prevalence of corruption in the health sector.

The project activities took place between January 2016 and August 2017 and consisted of a literature review and field research activities. This report presents a comparative discussion about the evidence of behavioural elements associated with attitudes towards petty corruption across the three countries.

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UK Department for International Development (DFID) through its East Africa Research Fund (EARF)