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Anti-Corruption Strategies in Fragile States

Theory and Practice in Aid Agencies Jesper Johnsøn worked as a Senior Advisor at the Chr. Michelsen Institute's U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, Norway, and is now a Policy Analyst at the OECD, France
Aid agencies increasingly consider anti-corruption activities important for economic development and poverty reduction in developing countries. In the first major comparative study of work by the World Bank, the European Commission and the UNDP to help governments in fragile states counter corruption, Jesper Johnsøn finds significant variance in strategic direction and common failures in implementation.
Extent: 296 pp
Hardback Price: $126.00 Web: $113.40
Publication Date: 2016
ISBN: 978 1 78471 970 8
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  • Politics and Public Policy
  • Public Administration and Management
  • Public Policy
Aid agencies increasingly consider anti-corruption activities important for economic development and poverty reduction in developing countries. In the first major comparative study of work by the World Bank, the European Commission and the UNDP to help governments in fragile states counter corruption, Jesper Johnsøn finds significant variance in strategic direction and common failures in implementation.

In a refreshing departure from existing literature on corruption, Anti-Corruption Strategies in Fragile States takes a public administration perspective, studying the role of organisational factors in the success of anti-corruption strategies. It is widely acknowledged that governance and anti-corruption interventions play a crucial role in reducing fragility and building legitimate and resilient institutions. Policy makers have re-framed development goals for fragile states to achieve stability by addressing their special characteristics: weak institutions and governance; low capacity and legitimacy in government; and vulnerability to violence. This book shows how anti-corruption and state-building policies are often disconnected or incoherent, and how executional challenges prevent strategies from translating into results.

This book will be of interest to researchers and students studying (anti-)corruption, aid, international organisations or fragile states. It will be an invaluable resource for staff in aid agencies and non-governmental organisations in the fields of governance, accountability and transparency.

‘Given how much international development agencies invest in anti-corruption programmes, and how often it features in donor strategies and policies, there is a shocking lack of research on how these programmes play out in recipient countries. Jesper Johnsøn’s book fills an important gap, particularly with his focus on fragile states where getting anti-corruption programming right is vital for stability and security. Drawing on theories of bureaucracy, he argues that donors (and researchers) often blame using the wrong theories for programme design failure but failure can be explained much more by implementation challenges. Rather than constantly searching for the new anti-corruption “magic key”, by paying greater attention to context, avoiding bureaucratic competition and investing properly in staffing, donors – and citizens in fragile states – could see transformative governance improvements.’
– Heather Marquette, University of Birmingham, UK

‘A timely critique of a less than stellar era for development assistance. Johnsøn’s work is an insightful blend of conceptual understanding and deep knowledge of the practical dilemmas faced by donors – who are almost never the solo actor on the battlefield. When real battles are going on alongside them, donor agencies face many challenges as one amongst many in the bureaucratic cage fight. This is an important contribution to the ongoing search for answers. The author’s description of donor agencies as “organised anarchies” will have an authentic ring to many a member of the aid caste.’
– Phil Mason OBE, Department for International Development, UK

‘Numerous societies have been targets for corruption-control and state-building efforts by aid agencies, often with dismal results. Jesper Johnsøn shows how those agendas diverge, and how both have been long on ideas yet short on implementation. Corruption fighters acknowledge that fragile situations – often the reasons for state-building – need carefully tailored responses, but have yet to figure out what they entail. Johnsøn brings sound theory and extensive field research to those questions, producing essential insights into reform and stability in fragile situations.’
– Michael Johnston, Colgate University, US
Contents: Introduction – A Need for Better Anti-Corruption Strategies in Fragile States 1. What is a Stabilising Anti-Corruption Reform? Understanding Corruption, Anti-Corruption and Fragility 2. How to Reduce Corruption in Fragile States – The Theory 3. Aid Agencies’ Anti-Corruption Strategies – Comparing the World Bank, EU and UNDP 4. Anti-Corruption Efforts in Afghanistan 5. Conclusions Bibliography Index