New strategies on international financial crimes must remove implementation barriers, and understand how institutions govern corruption.

Emerging strategies against international financial crimes should avoid the pitfalls of the early anti-corruption movement. Much energy and resources were spent on apparent panaceas that ended up disappointing due to misplaced expectations. The belief that one single institution will solve a complex problem is naive. Both research and practice need to appreciate the interdependencies and synergies between various types of corruption.

Future research and strategies would benefit from adopting an institutionalist lens, to understand why it is so difficult to change corrupt behaviour, and why creating strong institutions to control corruption is paramount. Moreover, the role of implementation should be more appreciated, both in research and actual practice. To learn what works and why, a crucial first step is to know whether initiatives fail due to weak designs or poor implementation. The costs of international financial crimes are not just the direct financial costs, but also the indirect costs that occur as a result of a distortion of public policy and its implementation

Jesper Stenberg Johnsøn

Senior Program Advisor (U4) (on leave)