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Okana Huss will present a paper on anti-corruption activism in the regions of Ukraine

The paper will be presented during the ECPR General Conference

26 AUGUST 2020

Conference

ECPR General Conference - Online

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Explaining Variation in Effectiveness of Anti-Corruption Activism in the Regions of Ukraine: The Role of Local Context, Political Will, Institutional and Structural Factors

The 2013-2014 Revolution in Ukraine has spurred a boom in civic anti-corruption initiatives across Ukraine. There is as yet little consolidated understanding of how effective these initiatives are and what explains their variation in effectiveness. Drawing on a comprehensive study of anti-corruption activism in the regions of Ukraine1, this paper analyses contextual factors that shape local anti-corruption initiatives. For the purposes of the study, we have conducted 242 semi-structured interviews with representatives of anti-corruption civic initiatives in 57 cities and towns in all regions of Ukraine that are under the control of the Ukrainian government. We find that political will is an important conducive factor to the effectiveness of anti-corruption activism as it creates, in particular through advocacy efforts, more opportunities for impact. However, we have come across a substantial number of cases of anti-corruption initiatives that were effective while political will among local authorities to counteract corruption was low. To explain the variation in effectiveness, we unfold contextual factors into institutional factors, such as legislation for transparency and accountability, and structural factors, such as the constellation of local elites, i.e. level of their consolidation or competition. Accordingly, we theorize a variation in the interaction between anti-corruption CSOs and local authorities. The article also discusses the implications of our findings for practitioners of international assistance.