Accepted Paper:

What works to strengthen capacity for anti-corruption: learning from evaluations of anti-corruption programmes in the Caribbean  


Aoife Murray (Itad Ltd.)
Elizabeth David-Barrett (University of Sussex)
Johanna Polvi

Paper short abstract:

This paper presents learning from theory-based evaluations of DFID programmes aiming to build capacity to tackle crime and corruption in the Caribbean. It showcases lessons for anti-corruption programming, learning which is drawn from tools designed to measure capacity building for anti-corruption.

Paper long abstract:

Efforts to evaluate the impact of anti-corruption programmes face numerous difficulties related to the complexity and hidden nature of corruption, its political sensitivity, and the ability of corrupt networks to adapt so as to evade interventions. This can mean that it is difficult to measure changes in corruption levels as well as problematic to attribute them to interventions. This paper draws on learning from two evaluations of DFID programmes in the Caribbean to demonstrate how anti-corruption theory is being translated into law enforcement practice, e.g., assessing economic models of criminals as rational actors whose behaviour can be changed through incentives and disincentives, and social norms models which argue that changing behaviour requires deeper social change that resonates with local norms.

The paper shows how a theory-based evaluation approach - building on academic research about what works in anti-corruption - can be used to test assumptions and construct a more nuanced theory underpinning an intervention to tackle corruption. For example, our network analysis tool builds on research about the importance of social networks among law enforcement professionals, while our assessment of organisational leadership relates to an understanding and need to change norms as well as incentives. The paper introduces purpose-built tools that underpin analysis of capacity building, including theory of change, capacity assessment for anti-corruption agencies, network analysis and policy trackers, and demonstrates their value in this challenging context. The paper shares learning applicable to other programmes that tackle corruption by supporting law enforcement institutions and highlight the benefits of a partnership-based approach.

Panel D3
How do we know it works? Exploring methods for evaluating the impact of capacity strengthening in international development