Once of interest mainly to specialists, the problem of explaining how institutions change is now a primary concern not only of economists, but of the international donor community as well. Many have come to believe that political institutions are decisive in shaping economic institutions and, with them, the course of innovation and investment that leads to a developed society. This is the shift from patrimonialism to ethical universalism, a transformation that most of today’s advanced democracies accomplished through a long historical evolution. But there has been very little research on whether and how this kind of change can be engineered and speeded up by human design. The EU-funded ANTICORRP project that I have been leading aims to help fill this gap. The big challenge is to explain the shift of the governance paradigm from particularism to universalism in the few societies that have managed to accomplish it in the postwar era. Do these success stories offer any lessons about how other societies can make that journey?