The World Bank : A qualitative content analysis of anti-corruption strategies 1997 – 2006

University essay from Stockholms universitet/Kriminologiska institutionen

Author: Sabina Andersson; [2010]

Keywords: ;


The World Bank is a large organization that has been an influential actor in world politics for decades. The foundation of the work in the World Bank was stipulated in the Articles of Agreement, negotiated in 1944, which concluded that the purpose of the Bank was to finance postwar reconstruction and investment in developing countries.

The purpose of this study is to examine how the problem of corruption is framed in the anti-corruption strategies produced by the World Bank, since corruption has received a growing interest from the World Bank, as well as the world in general during the last decade. This essay will analyze how the World Bank create and use their knowledge regarding corruption. This will be performed by studying how the anti-corruption strategies of the World Bank have evolved from the 1997 Publication “Helping Countries Combat Corruption: A World Bank Strategy” the revised governance strategy publication “Reforming Public Institutions and Strengthening Governance: A World Bank Strategy” from 2000, followed by the latest strategy paper “Strengthening World Bank Group Engagement on Governance and Anti-Corruption” published in the year of 2006.

The hypothesis and theory that the analysis is built upon is of a social-constructive nature, and the policy documents will be analyzed through the theory and method of claims-making, which highlights how power asymmetries and collective identity claims is used to give certain claims validity. The study will also look for the possible existence of a political bias, which often willingly or unwillingly shapes the views of individuals as well as organization.

The results showed that there has only been a small change in working methods within the anti-corruption unit at the World Bank during the last ten years, despite significant scholarly criticism against the suggested strategies and despite poor results. The aspects the strategies had been changed in did however indicate a possibility that it has followed a politicized general western/northern trend of liberalization which has become the norm for how economic reforms should be stipulated.

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