One in every three times a Mexican citizen interacts with government a bribe is paid (read more here or here). The real cost of such a problem goes beyond the billions of diverted taxpayer pesos. It also hinders the delivery of essential government services, harms public safety, and reduces public trust in government. In a recent survey, corruption was named as the second most relevant problem in Mexico behind only crime and ahead of unemployment.
In 2016, the challenge of corruption spurred an unprecedented legal reform process, driven by civil society. The passage of the National Anti-Corruption System calls for reforms across the federal government. The new legal framework –which has been widely heralded– creates, for example, a specialized court on corruption crimes and it expands and improves the ethics obligations of public servants. Although the Sistema Nacional Anticorrupción (National Anti-Corruption System) has propelled Mexico to global leadership in the reach and strength of its anti-corruption laws, most of the battle still lies ahead, as government agencies, the judiciary, and civil society put this law into practice.
The GovLab, in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and Mexico’s Secretariat of the Civil Service (Secretaría de la Función Pública, or SFP), held a series of online conferences to generate new, actionable ideas in the fight against corruption in Mexico.
Using The GovLab’s Smarter Crowdsourcing method, a collaborative problem-solving technique pairing the agility and diversity of crowdsourcing with the curation of relevant know-how in a format designed to produce effective and implementable outcomes, the series brought together over 100 global experts from 25 different countries with representatives from the Mexican government and civil society leaders. These stakeholders and specialists convened virtually to share insights and identify innovative yet practical strategies capable of achieving measurable progress against corruption in six separate challenge areas:
These six areas were delineated following a rigorous research and evaluation process carried out by the Governance Innovation Clinic at the Yale Law School, created and led by The GovLab’s Director Professor Beth Simone Noveck. Graduate students in the Clinic, along with GovLab Research Fellows, conducted interviews and documented each issue extensively in an effort to define the problem of corruption by its root causes. In turn, the briefs they developed would anchor a specialized online session to focus the invited experts on identifying workable solutions in the form of new policies and services.