Regional focus: Ukraine
Time: January 2020 – June 2021
“Institutional change requires political will. But what is political will, and where does it come from? The project focuses on local communication strategies and actor constellation as key elements to develop political will, and examines these dynamics in the context of Ukraine.” Describes Marcia Grimes from University of Gothenburg who is leading the research project.
Pervasive corruption presents a challenge to scholars, practitioners and activists. The importance of
political will for the success of anti-corruption reforms is widely recognized, but our understanding of
why political will arises (or not) is lacking. This research aims to dissect the concept of political will with
regards to anti-corruption policies among local public authorities (LPAs). This project addresses the
question: Why, in a context where corruption is widespread, do some local public authorities engage in
meaningful anti-corruption efforts while others do not? Ukraine presents an advantageous setting, with
considerable subnational variation and widespread ongoing anti-corruption efforts. We will interview
local public authorities in eight strategically selected regions, which all based on previously collected
data show some evidence of political intent to combat corruption. The project will investigate how
environmental conditions (institutions, relevant actors) and individual level attributes of LPAs (personal
background, perceptions, capacity) influence whether this minimal anti-corruption intent builds into the
collective momentum defined as political will.
- Why, in a context where corruption is widespread, do some local public authorities engage in meaningful anti-corruption efforts while others do not?
- What is the mechanism of decision-making and the role of communication/ interaction with relevant stakeholders with regards to anti-corruption?
- How do the LPAs conceptualise corruption and whether their understanding of the problem corresponds with attitudes in local society?
- What external factors create a sense of political necessity to counteract corruption among authorities?
- How do the authorities’ political capacity affect political will with regards to anti-corruption?
- What aspects of authorities’ personal background and/or their composition influence perception of (anti-)corruption and the sense of urgency for political action?
Marcia Grimes, Senior Lecturer, Department of Political Science, University of Gothenburg
Oksana Huss, Post-Doctoral Researcher, Department of International Studies, Leiden University
Oleksandra Keudel, PhD Candidate, Berlin Graduate School for Global and Transregional Studies, Free University of Berlin
Dmytro Iarovyi, Program Manager, Kyiv School of Economics