Political Will for Anti-Corruption Reform: Communicative pathways to collective action in Ukraine
The importance of political will to bring about institutional reform to reduce corruption is universally rec-ognized, but little is known about when and how it emerges. This paper examines six local settings which exhibit positive change in terms of anti-corruption political will. Theoretically, we develop a definition of political will suited to anti-corruption, and then, drawing on scholarly work on policy formation, norm change, and collective action, identify key steps involved in shifting and sustaining local actors’ preferences to support anti-corruption work. The analyses build on data from 70 interviews with local public authori-ties in six cities in Ukraine. The processes varied considerably across the six cases in terms of the actors involved and the organization of anti-corruption work. The commonalities, identified inductively, instead relate to the functions of communication. Those functions enabled local actors to establish, continually reaffirm and mutually recognize commitments to reform, operationalize those commitments into actiona-ble plans, and continually persuade relevant stakeholders to sustain reform momentum.
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