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This paper charts the current evidence on effectiveness of different anti-corruption reforms, and identifies significant evidence gaps. Despite a substantial amount of literature on corruption, this review found very few studies focusing on anti-corruption reforms, and even fewer that credibly assess issues of effectiveness and impact.

The evidence was strong for only two types of interventions: public financial management (PFM) reforms and supreme audit institutions (SAIs). For PFM, the evidence in general showed positive results, whereas the effectiveness was mixed for SAIs. No strong evidence indicates that any of the interventions pursued have been ineffective, but there is fair evidence that anti-corruption authorities, civil service reforms and the use of corruption conditionality in aid allocation decisions in general have not been effective.

The paper advocates more operationally-relevant research and rigorous evaluations to build up the missing evidence base, particularly in conflict-afflicted states, in regards to the private sector, and on the interactions and interdependencies between different anti-corruption interventions.