In January 2015, UK Aid through the UK Department for International Development published a valuable report, Why corruption matters: understanding causes, effects and how to address them.
It provides an up to date analysis of current trends and features of bribery and corruption in society. It identifies complex reasons and factors that facilitate corruption, including data which shows corruption is collective rather than simply individual. In terms of the effect of corruption, the report illustrates the view that lack of trust, reduced legitimacy and a lack of confidence in public institutions can be both a cause and an effect of corruption. In addressing corruption, the report notes that differing responses to corruption are required depending on the context and are most effective when coordinated into a broader package of institutional reforms.
This is a lesson many countries can learn – that tackling corruption requires political leadership and a whole-of-government approach. Fractured, piecemeal reforms invariably do not work and merely patch over the corruption cracks and crevasses.