Fraud in overseas aid and the challenge of measurement

Button, Mark, Lewis, Chris, Shepherd, David and Brooks, Graham ORCID: (2015) Fraud in overseas aid and the challenge of measurement. Journal of Financial Crime, 22 (2). pp. 184-198. ISSN 1359-0790

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The purpose of this paper is to explore the challenges of measuring fraud in overseas aid.


The research is based on 21 semi-structured interviews with key persons working in the delivery of aid in both the public and voluntary sectors. It uses the UK Department for International Development as a case study to applying more accurate measures of fraud.


This paper shows there are significant challenges to using fraud loss measurement to gauge fraud in overseas aid. However, it argues that, along with other types of measures, it could be used in areas of expenditure in overseas governments and charities to measure aid. Given the high risk of such aid to fraud, it argues helping to develop capacity to reduce aid, of which measuring the size of the problem is an important part; this could be considered as aid in its own right.

Research limitations/implications

The researchers were not able to visit high-risk countries for fraud to examine in the local context views on the challenges of measuring fraud.

Practical implications

The paper offers insights on the challenges to accurately measuring fraud in an overseas context, which will be useful to policy-makers in this context.

Social implications

Given the importance of as much aid as possible reaching recipients, it offers an important contribution to helping to reduce losses in this important area.


There has been very little consideration of how to measure fraud in the overseas aid context, with most effort aimed at corruption, which poses some of the same challenges, as well as some very different challenges.

Item Type: Article
Identifier: 10.1108/JFC-02-2014-0006
Additional Information: © Emerald Group Publishing Limited 2015
Keywords: Fraud, Aid, Corruption, Measurement
Subjects: Law and criminal justice > Criminal justice > Criminology
Depositing User: Graham Brooks
Date Deposited: 28 Dec 2017 15:23
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2024 15:55


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