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The Role of Social Norms in Bureaucratic Corruption: A Research-to-Practice Report

Why have decades of efforts to address civil service corruption yielded little lasting change? This research-to-practice report seeks to fill the research-to-action gap. It translates our findings from a literature review of the role of social norms in driving corruption among civil servants into practical considerations for actors working in contexts of endemic corruption. The literature review found robust evidence that social norms can drive corrupt practices among civil servants in contexts of endemic corruption. When left unaddressed, these social norms can undermine gains made by conventional anti-corruption, public sector reform, and civil service professionalization efforts. In this report, we unpack the seven key takeaways from this primary finding, explain the supporting research, and offer practical implications for practitioners working on bureaucratic corruption.

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