Anti-Corruption Learning Agenda Report

In March 2022, USAID’s Center of Excellence on Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance (the DRG Center) asked the Duke Center for International Development (DCID) to participate in the DRG Center’s Learning Agenda and explore answers to two learning questions: 1) What does USAID need to know to account for political-will dynamics in countering corruption; and 2) How should USAID programming to counter corruption account for and influence political will, particularly, where it is weak? From these primary questions, a set of sub-questions was derived, which are included in Annex 1 of the Executive Summary below. DCID’s research to answer these two questions evolved through three stages: 1) A literature review of the three-decade history of the role of political will in anti-corruption programming and the assembly of political economy tools for measuring the incentives and powers of political actors in developing country settings; 2) An evaluation of the most prominent anti-corruption programming interventions based on hundreds of articles from the academic and practitioner literature, which were used to identify the four families of interventions with the greatest probability of success; and 3) Four detailed case studies of the implementation of these interventions in low political-will states to identify key ingredients for successful implementation, maintenance, and scale-up.