The Evolution of the World Bank’s Anti-Corruption Programming: An Analysis of Driving and Limiting Factors

This paper explores the evolution of the World Bank’s anti-corruption programming and examines its driving and limiting factors. Building on a novel dataset of  World Bank anti-corruption activities and on expert interviews, the paper investigates the impact of factors internal and external to the World Bank on the institution’s anti-corruption programming. The analysis distinguishes three agendas operating under the anti-corruption label that differ in their conceptual understanding of corruption as “a crime”, “a matter of public administration”, and “a matter of power and politics”. The paper finds that internal factors related to the World Bank’s legal and policy mandate, the underlying financial model, and the organizational culture are among the most significant in explaining the evolution of the institution’s anti-corruption programming. Findings suggest that addressing those factors will be crucial for the effective renewal of the World Bank’s strategic and operational approach to doing anti-corruption.