Evaluation of Anti-Corruption Programs

This paper discusses the development and the main elements underlying the Center for International Private Enterprise’s anti-corruption programs. It also provides the methodology behind CIPE’s evaluation of the projects’ impact and offers an evaluation scorecard for easy reference. Since 1995, CIPE has undertaken 21 anti-corruption projects and an additional 7 are on-going. The completed projects were reviewed and evaluated for their impact.


Corruption is a subject matter that a large number of CIPE’s projects touch upon, mostly under the rubric “corporate governance” and the “informal sector.” However, in 1995 CIPE addressed the issue of corruption through a project entitled “Reducing Transaction Costs in Brazil” when it took a leading role in developing “Combating Corruption” as a related, but separate thematic area. Since, CIPE has undertaken 21 anti-corruption projects, both in-country and in-house, and achieved remarkable success with significant project impact. Seven projects are currently under way in China, Serbia and Montenegro, Kazakhstan, and Lebanon, as well as three global projects.

CIPE’s anti-corruption projects address a fundamental aspect of developing democracies. When democracies begin to liberalize their economies, the mixture of low government wages and economic stagnation makes public and other officials particularly vulnerable to corrupt practices. CIPE’s projects in Azerbaijan, Serbia and Montenegro, and elsewhere attest that corruption is rooted in the complex and frequently changing patterns of laws and regulations. Indeed, corruption thrives in markets where legal structures are vague and the rule of law is not strictly enforced. A major breeding ground for corruption is in the area of governmental applications of laws and regulations including tax rules, customs and currency regulations, labor law, and health and safety laws.
CIPE defines corruption as the abuse of public office for private gain. This most often is associated with bribery, but CIPE also includes under corruption cronyism (giving contracts to supporters), insider trading (abusing privileged information to buy or sell stock), nepotism (hiring relatives), and similar related practices. CIPE is sympathetic to treating the idea of “business-to-business” corruption, although that has not emerged as a focal point of anti-corruption programs.

CIPE follows a five-stage strategy for combating corruption. These are not completely separate steps, and may involve two or more as the project progresses. Accordingly, CIPE is trying to organize its strategy in a particular country or a region by judging which step the grantees are in the process. The five stages are:

  1. Breaking the taboo about corruption.
  2. Demonstrating how corruption occurs.
  3. Mobilizing key anti-corruption constituencies and building anti-corruption coalitions.
  4. Preparing action plans with specified anti-corruption policies.
  5. Implementing anti-corruption policies.
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