Politics researchers selected to help tackle global corruption

Politics lecturers, Dr Olli Hellmann and Dr Elizabeth David-Barrett, have been selected to take part in a £4 million global anti-corruption research scheme by the British Academy and Department for International Development (DFID).

Dr Elizabeth David-Barrett

Dr Olli Hellmann

The Anti-Corruption Evidence (ACE) partnership aims to support eight leading international research teams to identify the most successful ways of addressing corruption in developing countries.

Dr David-Barrett said:

“When we give money to help poor people in developing countries, we need to know that it’s reaching those who need it. Sadly, all too often it ends up financing flashy cars and villas for corrupt officials.

“Until now, it was almost impossible to track this kind of graft. But with the advent of big data and using our innovative new method, we can spot corruption in aid spending – and develop tools to help prevent it in future.

“We’re delighted to receive the support of the British Academy and DFID in our efforts to tackle the exploitation of vulnerable people in some of the world’s most deprived countries.”

The Sussex team will be joined by Dr Mihály Fazekas from the Government Transparency Institute on their project entitled ‘curbing corruption in development aid-funded procurement’.

The researchers received an award of £398,275 from the ACE partnership to develop new methods for analysing data from major aid agencies. Their findings will help guide donor agencies in the future development of more efficient delivery and monitoring mechanisms.

Work will focus primarily on DFID priority countries where corruption is a major constraint - including Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania and Bangladesh.

These projects will identify new initiatives that can help developing countries tackle corruption and the negative impact it has on millions of people’s lives.

Other research teams’ work will involve policy recommendations for the design of civil service systems and a study into the role that informality plays in fuelling corruption.