Academics in Support of the Transparency International Secretariat’s Research Work

As most readers of this blog are likely aware, Transparency International (TI) is the world’s leading advocacy organization focused specifically on fighting corruption. In addition to the important advocacy work done by the TI Secretariat and TI’s many national chapters, Transparency International has also played an important role in producing and supporting a variety of research activities.

Word on the street is that Transparency International is in the middle of some sort of internal reorganization. It’s apparently a complicated situation, and while I certainly don’t know much about the details (particularly concerning matters like German labor law), some of my academic colleagues have raised concerns about the possible implications of the reorganization for TI’s research capacity. In response to these concerns, a group of academics sent a letter (which I signed) to the TI Board of Directors, emphasizing the important contributions of the TI Secretariat’s research team. Although these “insider” organizational issues might not be of interest to all our readers, I thought that some of you might be interested, and perhaps might also like to make your voices heard, so I am providing (with the permission of those responsible for drafting and sending the letter) the full text of the letter here:

Dear José Ugaz and fellow members of the TI Board of Directors,

We are writing as senior academics who work in the field of corruption, and who have worked with, or otherwise made use of research materials produced by, the TI Secretariat over many years.

It is our understanding that the TI Secretariat is in the process of an internal reorganisation, and whilst we would not presume to understand fully all of the factors and options being considered, we do wish to place on record our view that TI-S has played a key role and has been a key player in promoting evidence-based research conducted both within the organisation and in collaboration with external partners.

Over the past two decades, TI-S has been central to raising awareness of the issue of corruption through its flagship research outputs such as the Corruption Perceptions Index and the Global Corruption Barometer.  Even if several of us have been critical of particular aspects of this research, we all agree that these tools, among others produced by your former Advocacy and Research Division, have played an absolutely fundamental role in agenda-setting and advocacy work. Moreover, your evidence-based anti-corruption work, backed by research conducted both within the organisation and in collaboration with external partners is one of the key factors that turned TI into the prominent international NGO it is today.

It is clear to all of us that without its commitment to research, and the quality and independence that research leaders in TI-S have helped ensure in national-level research and knowledge activities, TI would not have achieved its global profile, nor have been able to pursue many of its key policy and communications strategies.

We would all be diminished by the loss of any research capacity within TI-S. In a period of widespread political uncertainty, now more than ever we need TI’s commitment to fighting corruption to be backed by the kind of evidence-based research that has been such a hallmark of its rise to global prominence over recent decades.

We stand ready to assist TI with its future research strategies and very much hope, and trust, that the new TI Secretariat will not only retain core capacities to enable this to happen, but provide enhanced opportunities for game-changing knowledge development in support of the international anti-corruption movement.

Yours sincerely,

Professor AJ Brown, Griffith University, Australia

Professor Martin J Bull, University of Salford, UK

Professor Carl Dahlström, University of Gothenburg, Sweden

Professor Donatella Della Porta, Scuola Normale Superiore Pisa, Italy

Professor Miriam Golden, UCLA, USA

Professor Ting Gong, City University, Hong Kong

Professor Johann Graf Lambsdorff, University of Passau, Germany

Professor Adam Graycar, Flinders University, Australia

Professor Paul M Heywood, University of Nottingham, UK

Professor Dan Hough, University of Sussex, UK

Professor Leo Huberts, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Netherlands

Professor Emeritus Michael Johnston, Colgate University, USA

Professor Mushtaq Khan, SOAS, UK

Professor Mark Knights, University of Warwick, UK

Professor Alena Ledeneva, UCL, UK

Professor Melanie Manion, Duke University, USA

Professor Alina Mungiu-Pippidi, Hertie School of Governance, Germany

Professor Mark Philp, University of Warwick, UK

Professor Mark Pieth, University of Basel, Switzerland

Professor Susan Rose-Ackerman, Yale University, USA

Professor Bo Rothstein, University of Oxford, UK

Professor Mitchell A Seligson, Vanderbilt University, USA

Professor Tina Søreide, Norwegian School of Economics, Norway

Professor Matthew Stephenson, Harvard University, USA

Professor Davide Torsello, Central European University, Hungary

Professor Daniel Treisman, UCLA, USA

Professor Eric M Uslaner, University of Maryland, USA

Professor Carolyn Warner, Arizona State University, USA

Professor Mark Warren, University of British Columbia, Canada

Professor Dominik Zaum, University of Reading, UK

3 thoughts on “Academics in Support of the Transparency International Secretariat’s Research Work

  1. Pingback: Academics in Support of the Transparency International Secretariat’s Research Work | Anti Corruption Digest

  2. It is not to be glad to say, as “Transparency International” was founded by academicians, funded by financiers and is supported by academicians promoted by financiers. Is some achievement there to divert the this planet to Corrupt-free world? Academics are data-search people to publish paper and get project from the ‘Corrupt-world’. It is a ‘Science’ proliferation for fund that is major urge of academicians who are the product of corruption, is it not? World is gradually tilting to world-war, please try to stop by direct anti-corruption mass movement without bias. Please turn the science to protect of dying mass in farmland or in war-field. Please dare something new against the ‘profit-base’ mind.
    (sukubho@hotmail.com)

    • I’m not sure I understand your point, though this might be due to the language barrier. I did, however, want to correct a factual error in your first sentence. Transparency International was _not_ “founded by academicians.” In fact, of the founding board members, none of them were academics. They were principally former officials from the World Bank and other donor organizations, journalists, a couple of former government officials, and private-sector lawyers and executives. For better or worse, not an academic in the bunch!

      It also sounds like you’re making an across-the-board attack on academics as entirely dependent on the corrupt world of finance. I’m not sure if that’s what you actually mean, and in any event if your intent is to impugn the integrity of the researchers who signed the above letter, such unsubstantiated ad hominem is not worthy of a serious response.

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