1st Edition

Curbing Corruption Practical Strategies for Sustainable Change

By Bertram I. Spector Copyright 2022
    232 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    232 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    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 works 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 business people 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 policymakers, NGOs, development practitioners, and corruption studies students and researchers.


    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




    Bertram I. Spector has more than 40 years of experience conducting and directing research, training, and technical assistance programs internationally, specializing in the anti-corruption and international negotiation fields. For the past 25 years, he has focused his attention on designing, implementing, and researching practical programs to fight corruption and strengthen good governance and integrity in developing countries. Dr. Spector directed the Transparency and Accountability Practice Area at Management Systems International (MSI), an international development consulting firm that implements programs for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), among others. In recent years, he provided day-to-day technical guidance to in-country teams implementing multi-million dollar, multi-year anti-corruption projects in Ukraine, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Mali, Liberia, and Mexico. Dr. Spector has authored and edited three books on fighting corruption, several program papers and handbooks currently in use by the US Government, and many scholarly articles in the anti-corruption field.

    "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 policymakers 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