Construction, Corruption, and Developing Countries

32 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Charles Kenny

Charles Kenny

World Bank - Information and Communications Technologies Department (ICT)

Date Written: June 1, 2007


The construction industry accounts for about one-third of gross capital formation. Governments have major roles as clients, regulators, and owners of construction companies. The industry is consistently ranked as one of the most corrupt: large payments to gain or alter contracts and circumvent regulations are common. The impact of corruption goes beyond bribe payments to poor quality construction of infrastructure with low economic returns alongside low funding for maintenance - and this is where the major impact of corruption is felt. Regulation of the sector is necessary, but simplicity, transparency, enforcement, and a focus on the outcomes of poor construction are likely to have a larger impact than voluminous but poorly enforced regulation of the construction process. Where government is the client, attempts to counter corruption need to begin at the level of planning and budgeting. Output-based and community-driven approaches show some promise as tools to reduce corruption. At the same time they will need to be complimented by a range of other interventions including publication of procurement documents, independent and community oversight, physical audit, and public-private anticorruption partnerships.

Keywords: Governance Indicators, Poverty Monitoring & Analysis, Corruption & Anitcorruption Law, Public Sector Corruption & Anticorruption Measures, Social Accountability

Suggested Citation

Kenny, Charles, Construction, Corruption, and Developing Countries (June 1, 2007). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 4271. Available at SSRN:

Charles Kenny (Contact Author)

World Bank - Information and Communications Technologies Department (ICT) ( email )

Strategy Unit
2121 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20433

Register to save articles to
your library


Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics