A new episode of KickBack: The Global Anticorruption Podcast is now available. In this episode, I interview Professor Sergei Guriev, who until last month served as the Chief Economist for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). In the conversation (which took place a couple of months ago, when Professor Guriev was still in his EBRD post), we discuss a range of topics, including his academic work (both his research on the role of oligarchs in the Russian economy and his more recent work on how expanded high-speed internet access affects both perceptions of and political responses to widespread corruption); the question why some post-socialist countries were more successful than others in making a transition to a market economy and reasonably well-functioning democratic government, while others remain mired in corruption; and some of the major challenges and opportunities confronted by international organizations, like the EBRD, that want to help advance the fight against corruption in challenging political environments.
You can find this episode, along with links to previous podcast episodes, at the following locations:
- The Interdisciplinary Corruption Research Network (ICRN) website
KickBack is a collaborative effort between GAB and the ICRN. If you like it, please subscribe/follow, and tell all your friends! And if you have suggestions for voices you’d like to hear on the podcast, just send me a message and let me know.
Thank you both for this very informative podcast. I am personally very interested in the role of conditionality employed by foreign actors and the specific way international financial institutions can use their unique power and mandates to incentivize adherence to anti-corruption reforms and actual compliance with these legislative benchmarks in practice. I focus on the Western Balkans more specifically and there is the constant debate around whether harsher conditionality should be employed in order to deal with entrenched corrupt elite. Because investment is so valuable to these governments, banks like the EBRD wield a lot of influence. Your podcast discussion gave me a better picture of what the EBRD is doing on the ground but also the limits of its scope which are important to understand as well when evaluating ability for transformational change. For example, EBRD shareholders are in fact states and there is a delicate balance between upholding institutional standards like not engaging with corrupt actors and projects, but also wanting to work with shareholders and operate in contexts where corruption is pervasive and most of the decision-makers wouldn’t pass the corruption litmus test and qualify for crucial development funding.