Anti-Corruption Programs Require Time to Reveal Impact

Bert Spector home page rotator photo_578_370MSI technical director Dr. Bert Spector explained the challenges of evaluating anti-corruption projects last week on a panel at the Society for International Development-Washington (SID). He was part of a panel discussion entitled “Impact Evaluation in Democracy and Governance Programs: Challenges, Best Practices and Recommendations.”

MSI has an extensive record of implementing large and complex anti-corruption programs, including current programs in Afghanistan, Indonesia, Vietnam and Serbia, and has developed an inventory of anti-corruption M&E indicators. Spector listed numerous obstacles involved in measuring impact including the secretive nature of corrupt behaviors, their pervasiveness across multiple sectors, and especially time.

“It is always a slow process to change attitudes and behaviors about corruption. It takes time to change cultural norms and mindsets about how authorities should behave, and to adjust institutions and laws,” Spector said.

Changes such as improved complaint handling can demonstrate localized impact in the short term, but the bigger impacts take many years. Realistically, long term impact can only be measured after the project ends.

Spector offered recommendations for improving impact measurement. Because anti-corruption efforts will increasingly be conducted as embedded initiatives within sectoral programs, such as health or education, he said, evaluators must devise a method for conducting impact evaluations within the sectoral context.

He added that a more reliable way of monitoring the impact of anti-corruption programs could be to measure changes in government performance to assess if such programs are yielding results in terms of reducing the negative consequences of corrupt behaviors. Other factors, such as improved technology and management efficiencies, need to be monitored as well since they can reduce opportunities for corruption.

The panel was the second in the SID-Washington Workgroup Discussion Series, which brings together sector specialists, M&E experts, donor representatives and other practitioners to focus on the issues around evaluation of democracy and governance programs.

This entry was posted in News and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.