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Download this publication. Governments and donor agencies are under increasing pressure to show hard evidence that their interventions are effective and good value for money. Anti-corruption is a challenging field in this regard, with few evidence-based models to draw upon, so both the design and the evaluation of programmes need to be supported by good analytical frameworks.
The theory of change ToC approach focuses on how and why an initiative works. Constructing a ToC enables government and donor staff to identify the logic underpinning their programmes and clarify how interventions are expected to lead to the intended results.
The paper presents a user-friendly five-step methodology for building a theory of change for a programme or project. It highlights the importance of preconditions, factors that must be in place for the intervention to work as intended, distinguishing between those preconditions that can be addressed by the programme design and those that cannot. Finally, the paper provides general and sector-specific guidance based on case studies of programmes in three areas: anti-corruption authorities, civil society work, and public sector reforms.
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Adding complexity as well as realism, the theory of change methodology is a valuable tool for designing, implementing, and evaluating anti-corruption reforms. Further research by DLP and the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre will explore the different contexts and circumstances in which each of the three theoretical lenses are likely to be most appropriate, followed by empirical case study research, to inform the development of more contextualised, and potentially more effective, anti-corruption programming.
Corruption: theory and evidence through economies in transition
January Corruption and Collective Action Heather Marquette, Caryn Peiffer Despite significant investment in anti-corruption work over the past 15 years, most systemically corrupt countries are considered to be just as corrupt now as they were before the anti-corruption interventions. This theory highlights the challenges of coordinated anticorruption efforts. Corruption as problem-solving: Corruption can sometimes provide a way of dealing with deeply-rooted social, structural, economic and political problems.
Anti-corruption interventions need to better understand the functions that corruption may serve, particularly in weak institutional environments, and find alternative ways to solve the real problems that people face if anti-corruption work is to be successful.
Effective anti-corruption initiatives will be driven by the context, not the theory. Different perspectives on corruption may be most useful in particular contexts and circumstances. Collective action problems are sometimes deliberately crafted, and maintained to undermine the effectiveness of institutions meant to challenge corruption. Understanding the functions that corruption performs for those who engage in it, and trying to provide alternative solutions, are likely to be important first steps for any effective anticorruption intervention.