Dr. Ortrun Merkle is a Postdoctoral Researcher at UNU-MERIT/ The Maastricht Graduate School of Governance in Maastricht, The Netherlands. She holds a Ph.D. from Maastricht University and a MA in Economics, a MA in International Relations and a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Security Studies from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, NY. Ortrun's research focuses on the relationship between migration and corruption, with a particular focus on gender.

Her PhD thesis focused on the relationship of gender and corruption. Challenging the one-dimensional approach most corruption research takes on gender, she argues that one must understand underlying gender norms to truly comprehend how corruption is rooted in society. Using a mixed method approach her thesis particularly focuses on the role of political participation of women and the gendered experiences of corruption of migrants. During her PhD Ortrun has been a visiting researcher at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) and the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies (GFSIS) as well as UNU-Gest in Reykjavik.

Ortrun has presented her research on corruption and gender at various academic conferences as well as the European Development Days 2017 and The OECD Global Anti-Corruption and Integrity Forum 2018.

Selected publications

Merkle, O. and Wong, P. (forthcoming): It is all about power- corruption, patriarchy and the political participation of women in Sub-Saharan Africa. In: Konte, M and Tirivayi, N. Women and Sustainable Human Development – Empowering Women in Africa. Palgrave Macmillan.

Merkle, O. (forthcoming): Corruption risks in research funding in developing countries. Transparency International/U4 Heldpesk Answer

Work in Progress: Merkle, O. Dirty Politics – By invitation only: Women’s political participation in Georgia Merkle, O and Alberola, C. Sextortion - a case for including gender in corruption research

Merkle, Ortrun, Julia Reinold & Melissa Siegel, 2018, Corruption, Gender and Migration, 2018 Anti-Corruption & Integrity Forum

Bruni, Vittorio & Ortrun Merkle, 2018, Gendered effects of corruption on the Central Mediterranean route, ECDPM GREAT Insights Magazine, 7(1 (Winter 2018))

Merkle, Ortrun, Julia Reinold & Melissa Siegel, 2017, A Gender Perspective on Corruption Encountered during Forced and Irregular Migration, comissioned by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)

Merkle, Ortrun, Julia Reinold & Melissa Siegel, 2017, A Study on the Link between Corruption and the Causes of Migration and Forced Displacement, comissioned by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)

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Ortrun Merkle


UNU-Merit/ Maastricht Graduate School of Governance

Professional Title

Postdoctoral Researcher


  • Europe and Central Asia



Corruption and Gender

Corruption and Migration
Corruption and Human Trafficking/Smuggling

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