Civil service reform and anti-corruption in developing countries

I managed this project together with Christian Schuster (UCL) and Kim Sass Mikkelsen (Roskilde) between 2016 and 2018.

The project was based on the understanding that civil service reform is a central component of anti-corruption aid. Yet, reformers lack robust evidence and flexible instruments to gauge the effectiveness of distinct civil service designs in curbing corruption in developing countries. In part as a result, reforms overwhelmingly fail.

In our project, we examined the impact of civil service management practices in key areas – recruitment, career advancement, pay, performance evaluation, dismissal, and integrity management – on corruption, clientelism, public service motivation, work motivation, job satisfaction and bureaucratic performance to provide both new evidence and practical tools for future use by DfID and its partners.

For the project, we conducted large scale surveys of public servants in ten developing countries in Africa (Ghana, Uganda, Malawi), Asia (Bangladesh, Nepal), Latin America (Chile, Brazil) and Eastern Europe (Estonia, Albania, Kosovo). With more than 23,000 observations, the project generated the largest cross-country survey that has ever been conducted.

A summary of the findings was published by the World Bank Governance and Development Blog the title Getting the Basics Right: How to Manage Civil Servants in Developing Countries.

The project report was published in February 2018 under the title Making Civil Service Management Work in Developing Countries. 

Our partners included

  • Tiina Randma-Liiv, Tallinn University of Technology
  • CerlinPesti, Tallinn University of Technology
  • Adam Harris, University College London
  • Rachel Sigman, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterrey
  • Brigitte Seim, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Shafiqul Ahmed Huque, McMaster University
  • Taiabur Rahman, University of Dhaka
  • KaziMaruful Islam, University of Dhaka
  • Shree Krishna Shrestha, Tribhuvan University
  • AnsiShundi, Tirana
  • HamitQeriqi, Pristina
  • Fanni Toth, Loughborough University