The Corruption, Justice and Legitimacy Program

The Corruption, Justice, and Legitimacy Program moved homes! For updates on CJL’s work go to:

Corruption, Justice & Legitimacy (CJL) is a research-to-practice initiative committed to improving the effectiveness of anti-corruption programming in contexts of endemic corruption. CJL engages with practitioners, policymakers, and academics across sectors and regions with the goal of unlocking the barriers to effective and durable development caused by corrupt patterns of behavior. 

Originally working as practitioner-scholars in conflict settings, the CJL team saw traditional anti-corruption efforts being replicated, regardless of context or evidence of effectiveness. CJL believes these traditional strategies for combating corruption, largely derived from Western contexts, do not align with the complex nature of the problems in contexts of endemic corruption. 

This mismatch is often partially derived from corruption analysis that focused on risks or assessing the degree of corruption, instead of exploring what drives and enables corrupt patterns of behavior. Only with the latter understanding can nuanced, context-sensitive theories of change be designed. 

CJL’s early work in Uganda, the Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of Congo developed and tested an alternative analytic method. CJL’s approach situated corruption in a dynamic, adaptive system that reflects the full range of influential factors, from political dynamics to social norms. CJL’s work has expanded from developing this Corruption as a System methodology to exploring how Social Norms affect that system, to studying the intersection of Corruption and Peacebuilding.  

Social Norms & Corruption: CJL believes that social norms should be considered in any corruption analysis and, where appropriate, integrated as a key element of programs that tackle corruption, accountability, transparency, or governance. CJL is collaborating with practitioners to co-develop approaches and materials to address social norms that influence corrupt behavior.  

Corruption as a System: The Corruption as a System Project offers technical assistance to implementers and donors as they integrate corruption analysis into their program development or evaluation processes. This methodology is derived from causal loop mapping, as it more accurately reflects systemic dynamics of corruption in these contexts. 

Corruption & Peacebuilding: The Corruption and Peacebuilding Project aims to facilitate greater synergies between the anti-corruption and peacebuilding fields; be it through the synthesis of existing frameworks for effective, conflict-sensitive anti-corruption strategies or the indication of entry points in settings where corruption is an underlying driver of fragility and conflict. 

Corruption in Fragile States Blog: Our Blog challenges conventional thinking and takes a deep dive into critical issues in the field. Featuring posts from leading experts and the CJL team, the Blog fosters conversation about the effectiveness of anti-corruption initiatives among practitioners, policymakers, and academics working in the context of endemic corruption. Subscribe here to get updated about all upcoming blog posts. 

Our Projects

The Corruption in Fragile States Blog

Changing the Conversation

Corruption as a System

Integrating Systems Analysis into Anti-Corruption Programming

Social Norms and Corruption

Exploring How Social Norms Affect Corruption

Corruption and Peacebuilding

Leveraging Peacebuilding Approaches in Anti-Corruption

Our Directors

Diana Chigas

Diana Chigas


Cheyanne Scharbatke-Church

Cheyanne Scharbatke-Church