1st Edition

Curbing Corruption
Practical Strategies for Sustainable Change

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after December 20, 2021
ISBN 9781032135601
December 20, 2021 Forthcoming by Routledge
232 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations

USD $39.95

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Book Description

Many anti-corruption efforts have had only a minimal effect on curbing the problem of corruption. This book explains why that is, and shows readers what does work in the real world in the fight against corruption, and why.

Counter-corruption initiatives often focus on the legal, institutional and contextual factors that facilitate corrupt behavior, but these have had only nominal impacts, because most of these reforms can be circumvented by government officials, powerful citizens and businesspeople who are relentless in their quest for self-interest. This book argues that instead, we should target the key individual and group drivers of corrupt behavior and through them promote sustainable behavioral change. Drawing on over 25 years of practical experience planning, designing and implementing anti-corruption programs in over 40 countries, as well as a wealth of insights from social psychological, ethical and negotiation research, this book identifies innovative tools that target these core human motivators of corruption, with descriptions of pilot tests that show how they can work in practice.

Anti-corruption is again becoming a priority issue, prompted by the emergence of more authoritarian regimes, and the public scrutiny of government responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Straddling theory and practice, this book is the perfect guide to what works and what doesn’t, and will be valuable for policy-makers, NGOs, development practitioners, and corruption studies students and researchers.

Table of Contents


  1. Since the Dawn of Humankind

  3. Are We on the Right Track?
  4. Legal and Institutional Reform Programming: What Works?
  5. Preventing Corruption through Accountability, Transparency and Governance Programming: What Works?
  6. Civil Society Engagement: What Works?
  7. Anti-Corruption Programming in Post-Conflict Societies

  9. Activating Behavioral Change Initiatives
  10. The View through an Ethical Lens
  11. The Social Psychological Lens
  12. Deconstructing Negotiations to Make Bribery Fail

  14. What’s Next? Assessments, Strategies and Implementation
  15. Case Study: Ukraine Assessment (2005)
  16. Additional Implementation Issues to Consider
  17. Sustaining Anti-Corruption Reforms
  18. Making Corruption Fail

Appendix: Corruption Assessment



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Bertram I. Spector directed anti-corruption programs at Management Systems International, an international development consulting firm, conducting research, training and implementing reform initiatives for 25 years in over 40 countries. He has authored and edited books on fighting corruption in post-conflict and different sectoral contexts. Dr. Spector is also the Editor-in-Chief of International Negotiation: A Journal of Theory and Practice.


"Spector disentangles the dilemmas of corruption control by asking "what works?" – a question he answers on levels ranging from history and institutions to human psychology. Corruption is often a process of negotiation, and this book shows how we can help such negotiations fail. In these pages, reformers, scholars and citizens will find new challenges and fresh perspectives on age-old problems."

Michael Johnston, Charles A. Dana Professor of Political Science, Emeritus, Colgate University, USA

"Spector brings his decades-long experience in combating corruption to produce an impressive analysis of why reform efforts to eradicate corruption have had only minimal success. It is a must read for policy makers concerned with finding new pathways to sustainably tackle corruption."

Shaukat Hassan, former Senior Policy Advisor, Canadian International Development Agency

"Fighting corruption is incredibly hard. Few have more experience designing, implementing and assessing anti-corruption programs than Dr. Spector. Students of governance, reformers, and anti-corruption practitioners should keep this book nearby to chart their course through treacherous waters."

Juhani Grossmann, Team Leader, Basel Institute on Governance, Switzerland