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.


Please provide a summary of how different forms of corruption in BiH are politically connected and describe patronage systems, describe how different vulnerable groups experience corruption and what different international actors do in the area of anti-corruption.


The power sharing system which was designed to guarantee fair ethnic representation in governance, often results in “severe partisan gridlock” amongst nationalist leaders from BiH’s Bosniak, Serb and Croat communities. What enables the governing parties to rule over a deeply entrenched patronage system is their grip over administrative resources, particularly employment in public administration and state-owned enterprises. There is widespread discrimination against certain vulnerable groups, which can increase their exposure to corruption risks. Efforts towards constitutional reform to address discrimination have failed. Corruption is systemic.


  1. Background
  2. Patronage networks and forms of corruption
  3. Vulnerable groups and corruption
  4. International actors’ contributions to anti-corruption
  5. References

Main points

  • Corruption remains systemic in the BiH context.
  • Patronage systems involve various forms of corruption including but not limited to petty, political and grand corruption.
  • Elite actors benefit from the status quo and have “little incentive to reform the system”.
  • The most vulnerable groups susceptible to social exclusion and poverty in BiH include returnees and internally displaced people (IDPs), persons living in distant rural areas, Roma, youth, women, victims of gender-based violence, elderly, those living with HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, and people with disabilities.
  • International actors have myriad anti-corruption projects ongoing in BiH.


There is limited information in the public domain on the effects of corruption on vulnerable groups in the context of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This paper presents evidence of discrimination, cites the mutually reinforcing relationship of corruption and discrimination and illustrates how vulnerable groups in the context could be exposed to higher risks of corruption. Please note that information contained in this paper has been updated until November 2021.


Kaunain Rahman (TI), [email protected]


David Jackson (U4), [email protected]

Ivana Korajlic and Emsad Dizdarevic (TI BiH), Jorum Duri (TI), [email protected]




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