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DRG Learning Agenda Literature Review: Combatting Corruption Among Civil Servants - Interdisciplinary Perspectives on What Works


In 2016, USAID’s Center of Excellence on Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance launched its Learning Agenda—a set of research questions designed to address the issues that confront staff in USAID field offices working on the intersection of development and democracy, human rights, and governance.

This literature review, commissioned by USAID and the Institute for International Education, addresses one of those questions: In the context of hiring civil servants and providing positive and negative incentives for their behavior, what kinds of interventions are most effective at reducing the propensity (potential and actual) of civil servants to engage in corruption?

The resulting literature review, conducted by graduate students and faculty at Northwestern University, will help to inform USAID’s strategic planning, project design, and in-service training efforts in the democracy, human rights, and governance sector. For more information about USAID’s work in this sector and the role of academic research within it, please see 

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