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 an overview of existing evidence on undercover integrity testing as an anti-corruption measure, including in the customs sector.


Undercover integrity testing involves simulating an event that places an employee, without their knowledge, in a monitored situation with an opportunity for unethical decision-making. It has been used as an integrity measure by law enforcement agencies, customs administrations and public administration more widely. This Helpdesk Answer assesses its effectiveness, finding it can both detect and deter corrupt behaviour. The Answer also considers operational implications of the measure, including potential legal issues.

Main Points

  • Undercover integrity testing is a measure used by law enforcement and other public agencies in some jurisdictions as an anti-corruption measure.
  • There is evidence of positive effects of this measure, including detecting and deterring corrupt behaviour, encouraging officials to report bribery and identifying the training needs of public officials.
  • Evidence suggests that targeted tests are more effective than random tests as they are more cost-effective and can be tailored to the subject of the test.
  • There are operational implications to consider before implementing integrity testing, such as potential legal issues.


1. Introduction

2. Efficacy of undercover integrity testing as an anti-corruption tool

3. Operational implications of undercover integrity testing

4. Undercover integrity testing in the customs sector

5. References


Miloš Resimić

Reviewed by

Daniel Sejerøe Hausenkamph (U4)

Jamie Bergin and Matthew Jenkins (TI)




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