What is informality? It is an umbrella term for the social and cultural complexity that comes on the way of top-down policies and reforms.
Through our comparative and ethnographic investigations, the project explores the existence of informal governance regimes, anchored on the resilience of informal practices, multiple moralities, legitimacy of the informal ways of getting things done and institutional arrangements that enable them.
About informal governance
Informal governance regimes are enacted by networks of actors at all levels. The practices of these networks are associated with high levels of corruption because they entail an informal redistribution of resources.
This research project looked at informality, and its relationship with governance and corruption, in seven countries in Africa and Eurasia:
It sought to understand how corruption works in practice, and to establish a framework for understanding informal governance and identifying patterns in which it operates.
The research found a number of key concepts that tend to recur in informal governance regimes. Watch the short video to learn more – or read on to learn more and access the research publications.
The comparative analysis of the seven cases sheds light on common patterns and local variations in the exercise of informal governance. It also suggests why tensions within networks arise, thereby opening up opportunities for reform.
This research focused on seven countries, of which five – Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Tanzania and Uganda are considered “challenging” cases, where high levels of corruption prevail in spite of having adopted adequate legal and institutional anti-corruption frameworks. The other two cases – Georgia and Rwanda – are considered examples of “success” in that they have achieved remarkable control of corruption outcomes.
Find out more about the research findings in our short video, or explore comparative patterns and insights from individual countries below.
How do we counter informal systems of governance that generate corruption but are essential to the ruling elites for staying in power?
The field of anti-corruption needs new and effective approaches. What can this research on informal governance tell us?
Insights into the workings of informal governance regimes suggest there are at least two things formal anti-corruption strategies don’t do: uncover hidden agendas and tackle the habits of corruption.
2022 | Article
Informal networks as investment: A qualitative analysis from Uganda and TanzaniaClaudia Baez Camargo, Jacopo Costa, Lucy Koechlin2022 | Policy brief
Policy Brief 9: Informal networks and what they mean for anti-corruption practiceClaudia Baez Camargo, Jacopo Costa, Saba Kassa2022 | Quick guide
Quick Guide 23: Informal networks and anti-corruptionJacopo Costa, Claudia Baez Camargo, Saba Kassa, Cosimo Stahl2021 | Policy brief
Policy Brief 8: It takes a network to defeat a network – What Collective Action practitioners can learn from research into corrupt networksClaudia Baez Camargo, Jacopo Costa, Vanessa Hans, Lucy Koechlin, Scarlet Wannenwetsch2021 | Commissioned study, Report
Case studies from Uganda: GI-ACE research on informal networks and corruptionClaudia Baez Camargo, Jacopo Costa, Lucy Koechlin, Robert Lugolobi2021 | Commissioned study, Report
Case studies from Tanzania: GI-ACE research on informal networks and corruptionClaudia Baez Camargo, Jacopo Costa, Lucy Koechlin, Danstan Mukono2021 | Article, Report
Informal networks as investment in East AfricaClaudia Baez Camargo, Jacopo Costa, Lucy Koechlin2021 | Article
Insider’s corruption versus outsider’s ethicality? Individual responses to conflicting institutional logicsMaral Muratbekova-Touron, Camila Lee Park, Mauro Fracarolli Nunes2021 | Report, Working paper
Working Paper 36: Revealing the networks behind corruption and money laundering schemes: an analysis of the Toledo–Odebrecht case using social network analysis and network ethnographyJacopo Costa2021 | Report
Gendered corruption: Initial insights into sextortion and double bribery affecting female businesswomen in MalawiCosimo Stahl2020 | Report
E-informality: smartphones as a new regulatory space for informal exchange of formal resourcesAksana Ismailbekova2019 | Article
Human resource management patterns of (anti) corruption mechanisms within informal networksMaral Muratbekova-Touron, Tolganay Umbetalijeva2018 | Article
Informal governance: comparative perspectives on co-optation, control and camouflage in Rwanda, Tanzania and UgandaClaudia Baez Camargo, Lucy Koechlin2018 | Article, Commissioned study
Informal Governance and Corruption – Transcending the Principal Agent and Collective Action Paradigms in KyrgyzstanAksana Ismailbekova2018 | Article, Commissioned study
Informal Governance and Corruption – Transcending the Principal Agent and Collective Action Paradigms in UgandaFrederick Golooba-Mutebi2018 | Article, Commissioned study
Informal Governance and Corruption – Transcending the Principal Agent and Collective Action Paradigms in TanzaniaClaudia Baez Camargo, Richard Sambaiga, Lucy Koechlin2018 | Article, Commissioned study
Informal Governance and Corruption – Transcending the Principal Agent and Collective Action Paradigms in KazakhstanMaral Muratbekova-Touron, Tolganay Umbetalijeva2018 | Article
Lineage Associations and Informal Politics: Mapping Leadership in KyrgyzstanAksana Ismailbekova2018 | Article, Commissioned study
Informal Governance and Corruption – Transcending the Principal Agent and Collective Action Paradigms in GeorgiaAlexander Kupatadze2018 | Article, Commissioned study
Informal Governance and Corruption – Transcending the Principal Agent and Collective Action Paradigms in RwandaClaudia Baez Camargo, Tharcisse Gatwa2017 | Working paper
Working Paper 22: Hidden agendas, social norms and why we need to re-think anti-corruptionClaudia Baez Camargo, Nikos Passas