Table of Contents

Corruption, Grabbing and Development

Corruption, Grabbing and Development

Real World Challenges

Edited by Tina Søreide and Aled Williams

All societies develop their own norms about what is fair behaviour and what is not. Violations of these norms, including acts of corruption, can collectively be described as forms of ‘grabbing’. This unique volume addresses how grabbing hinders development at the sector level and in state administration. The contributors – researchers and practitioners who work on the ground in developing countries – present empirical data on the mechanisms at play and describe different types of unethical practices.

Chapter 1: Corruption and collusion in construction: a view from the industry

Jill Wells

Subjects: development studies, development studies, economics and finance, development economics, economic crime and corruption, law - academic, corruption and economic crime, politics and public policy, public policy


Investment in capital projects is essential for economic growth and development. Yet there is widespread dissatisfaction with the outcomes of construction investment. Major challenges in developing countries include inappropriate projects, high prices, poor quality, excessive time and cost overruns, inadequate maintenance and low returns. These problems impact negatively on development and poverty alleviation and have led to a search for ways to get better ëvalue for moneyí from the construction industry. At least a part of the explanation for poor construction outcomes in low-income countries relates to mismanagement, but corruption is also an issue that has to be addressed. The construction sector is widely reported as one of the most corrupt globally. Public works and construction repeatedly top the charts of Transparency Internationalís Bribe Payerís Index, perceived as the sector most likely to engage in bribery (Hardoon and Heinrich, 2011). Estimates of 20ñ30 per cent of project value lost through corruption are widespread. In the most comprehensive review of corruption in the construction industry to date, Stansbury (2005) outlines 13 features of construction projects that make them particularly prone to corruption. Most relevant are: size, uniqueness, complexity and the fact that projects are structured through various phases and contractual links that disperse accountability among numerous separate agents.This chapter will explain the various processes involved in the delivery of a construction project, highlighting the project delivery stages from planning through to completion. A simplified version of the stages is presented in Table 1.