Evidence of legal empowerment constraining corruption in certain countries

With a grant from a Dutch policy institute, the Knowledge Platform Security and Rule of Law unit, I am conducting research on whether legal empowerment helps constrain corruption in certain parts of the world. I’m particularly focusing on countries in what the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs calls its policy priority regions (PPRs): the Middle East and North Africa, the Horn of Africa and the Sahel. However, if anyone has relevant information to share on other nations, particularly those that are in conflict, are post-conflict or are otherwise unstable or fragile, I’d welcome it.

The best information anyone could share would be studies, evaluations, NGO analyses, consultant reports or other documents that provide quantitative or qualitative evidence of legal empowerment (LE) work constraining corruption by monitoring, pressuring or otherwise influencing relevant personnel to act with more integrity. Just to pick a few examples, quantitative can involve survey research, use of government records, etc. indicating some impact on corruption by virtue of LE work. Qualitative can involve in-depth case studies of specific communities or policy/law reforms.

Even if specific evidence is not available, however, I’d be interested in other articles that illuminate this issue.

In addition:

a) If you feel or can provide evidence that LE does not constrain corruption, I would certainly be interested in it. The point of my research is to pull together available information, whether it’s positive or negative. b) On the other hand, the absolute best kind of article would be one that not only indicates that LE helped constrain corruption, but that there were results in terms of actual impact on people’s lives: better health outcomes such as reduced child mortality, for instance. c) Another good kind of article could be one that shows that civic or legal activism resulted in anti-corruption legal, policy or institutional reforms.

I am taking a broad view of corruption in this research. Yes, it includes actions where government officials solicit bribes. But it can also include government personnel (teachers, health workers, land titling personnel, etc.) don’t show up for work, don’t do their jobs, engage in nepotism or favoritism, bow to or exert political influence, etc. And it can include informal/traditional justice systems that may act in biased ways because the local mediators or arbitrators involved with them are benefited (such as through enhanced status or power) by acting against the poor or against women.

Thanks for any suggestions, articles, links or other help.


Steve Golub

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