Knowledge Note

"Understanding what motivates corruption, how it pervades public institutions, and what its consequences are for development, can guide policies to fight corruption."

Corruption robs the public of precious resources, distorts the incentives to engage in productive activities, destroys confidence in public institutions, and spurs political instability. It disproportionately harms the poor and vulnerable. In turn, corruption is the result of perverse incentives, concentration of power, and lack of accountability. 

Countries are not condemned to suffer from corruption. They can break the vicious cycle with a comprehensive approach that tackles country-specific governance gaps. This approach should include streamlining rules and regulations; building a meritocratic and well-paid civil service; promoting transparency in public employment, procurement, and services; enabling citizen voice and government accountability; and enforcing anti-corruption laws and penalties.