Research centre

European Research Centre for Anti-Corruption and State-Building (ERCAS)

The European Research Centre for Anti-Corruption and State-Building (ERCAS) is located in Berlin. Established at the Hertie School in 2012, the centre examines state-building and corruption from a state-society perspective, with a focus on the interplay of formal and informal institutions, governance regimes, norm transitions and the role of ethics in these spheres.


The centre aims to design, develop and promote a new generation of evidence-based anti-corruption and state-building programmes available to a broader segment of society, not just limited to governments and public administration. We believe that transitions from corrupt regimes to a system based on ethical universalism are a political and not a technical-legal process, and that this process has to be driven by domestic actors who stand to lose from corruption. Identifying such actors, studying their strategies and supporting processes of learning and empowerment can lead to the sustainable building of non-corrupt governance regimes.



Core objectives are:

  • To offer a clear, theory-based and policy-sensitive diagnostic tool to identify the potential for changes in governance structures as well as available policy options for individual cases
  • To develop an updated set of governance indicators to facilitate improved monitoring of change and impact
  • To foster collective action by empowering domestic actors and coalitions in favour of good governance by means of policy analysis, research, advocacy and the transfer of knowledge.

Centre director

Faculty and researchers

  • Michael Johnston, Advisory Board

  • Frank Fukuyama, advisory board

  • Rolf Alter, Advisory Board

  • Donatella della Porta, Senior Fellow

  • Niklas Kossow, Fellow

  • Till Hartmann, Fellow

  • Janine R. Wedel, Fellow

  • Eliška Drápalová, Fellow

  • Roberto Martinez B. Kukutschka, Fellow