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Working Papers

Putting the Power of Transparency in Context: Information's Role in Reducing Corruption in Uganda's Education Sector - Working Paper 136

December 13, 2007
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The development world is full of conventional wisdom. One popular story told (and taught) is how corruption was slashed in Uganda simply by publicly disclosing the amount of monthly grants to schools -- by informing the public of how much money was supposed to go where, the government was less able to siphon the money off for their own enrichment. This working paper by Paul Hubbard takes a deeper look at the evidence behind this story and finds that while information played a critical role, it was no panacea for corruption. While a dramatic drop in the percentage of funds being diverted did occur, Hubbard finds that there were other policies and reforms that help to explain the reported decline in corruption to Ugandan education in the 1990s. The paper also shows that while the proportion of funds diverted did decline spectacularly, the real value of funds actually diverted fell by a modest 12 percent over six years. The paper also suggests that the efficacy of the information campaign has declined over time.

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