EU Resource Centre

This Anti-Corruption Helpdesk brief was produced in response to a query from the European Commission. The Anti-Corruption Helpdesk is operated by Transparency International and funded by the European Union


Are there demonstrated success stories of legal reforms in specific countries that have had an impact on corruption? What was their main focus? Was it, for example, a more independent prosecution agency, zero tolerance legislations, whistleblowing legislation, conflict of interest measures, or strong penalties for culprits?


To inform government reforms in areas where institutions could be strengthened and some reforms could take place, to improve the fight against corruption in the country.


1. What works and doesn’t work in anti-corruption: review of evidence and lessons learned

2. Example of successful reforms in specific countries

3. References 


Evidence showing that anti-corruption reforms in general and legal reforms in particular have a direct impact on reducing corruption is thin, due to a number of methodological challenges involved in measuring progress and the impact of anti-corruption.However, several evidence mapping exercises suggest that public finance management reforms, strengthening horizontal accountability mechanisms and transparency tools, such as freedom of information, transparent budgeting and asset declarations can have an impact on controlling corruption.

Lessons drawn from successful approaches indicate that there is no silver bullet against corruption, and that contextual factors linked to the local political economy, as well as the legal and institutional framework, are key to the success of anti-corruption interventions. The effectiveness of anti-corruption approaches is usually maximised by a combination of complementary (top-down and bottom-up) approaches and success driven by the interaction of a number of reforms introduced simultaneously. 


Marie Chêne, Transparency International, [email protected]


Dr. Finn Heinrich, Transparency International



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