U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre

This Anti-Corruption Helpdesk brief was produced in response to a query from a U4 Partner Agency. The U4 Helpdesk is operated by Transparency International in collaboration with the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre based at the Chr. Michelsen Institute.


We wish to identify areas of strong evidence that can illustrate how the UK’s attempts to combat international corruption, at home and overseas, can also help to secure the UK’s national interests in terms of prosperity (better business links, increasing access to open and fair markets, more trade opportunities), migration flows, terrorist threats and reputational risks.


This request is designed to inform international anti-corruption business cases and the design of a cross-UK government anti-corruption strategy.


  1. Trade, growth and competitiveness
  2. Overseas development assistance
  3. Security, crime and migration
  4. References


There are few studies specifically related to the UK. The literature typically focusses on the benefits of anti-corruption interventions in broader terms.


As a country looking to expand and deepen trade with emerging markets, a leading player in overseas development assistance and a major destination for illicit financial flows, the UK has a crucial role to play in tackling global corruption.

Corruption has been shown to adversely affect economic growth and market demand in developing countries, while firm-level studies demonstrate corruption’s detrimental effect on firm growth, innovation and productivity. Research also demonstrates how corruption undermines global trade, exacerbates conflict, and facilitates organised crime and illegal migration.

This brief discusses the numerous ways in which anti-corruption efforts are in the UK’s national interest by improving the business environment, establishing fairer markets and countering security threats. In countries in receipt of UK development aid, targeted assistance can help to improve institutions and the regulatory regime, helping to build more prosperous, secure and resilient partners. 


Matthew Jenkins, Transparency International, [email protected]


Robin Hodess PhD, Roberto Kukutschka, [email protected]



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