New Podcast Episode, Featuring Andrii Borovyk and Gretta Fenner

A new episode of KickBack: The Global Anticorruption Podcast is now available.I know that I said in the post announcing the episode from a couple weeks back that that one would be the last post before our summer vacation, but I spoke too soon–last week I had the opportunity to speak with Andrii Borovyk, the Executive Director of Transparency International’s Ukraine chapter, and Gretta Fenner, the Managing Director of the Basel Institute on Governance, about addressing corruption risks inherent in emergency aid to Ukraine during the current conflict and the anticipated future infusion of funds to assist with post-war reconstruction. (Full disclosure: I am on the Board of Directors for Transparency International Ukraine, an unpaid position, and in that capacity I have worked with Andrii, though not directly on this issue.) After sharing their respective backgrounds in the field, Andrii and Gretta discuss how Russia’s aggression affected anticorruption advocacy work within Ukraine, and emphasize the importance for both domestic and international actors to strengthen institutions and mechanisms to prevent corruption in aid and reconstruction efforts. The conversation touches on, among other things, the challenges of pushing an anticorruption agenda in a time of national emergency, the role that aid conditionalities can play in promoting effective reform, and the importance of open, accessible, and centralized public information repositories. You can also find both this episode and an archive of prior episodes at the following locations: This really will be the last podcast episode before we go on summer break, but we will be releasing new episodes in September. The Global Anticorruption Blog is also going to go on summer hiatus during August, though I may post occasionally if something particularly important and time-sensitive comes up. As always, I’ll remind you that KickBack is a collaborative effort between GAB and the Interdisciplinary Corruption Research Network (ICRN), encourage you to subscribe, and invite you to suggest for people or topics you’d like to hear on the podcast by sending me a message.

Anticorruption Bibliography–July 2022 Update

An updated version of my anticorruption bibliography is available from my faculty webpage. A direct link to the pdf of the full bibliography is here, and a list of the new sources added in this update is here. Additionally, the bibliography is available in more user-friendly, searchable form at Global Integrity’s Anti-Corruption Corpus website. As always, I welcome suggestions for other sources that are not yet included, including any papers GAB readers have written.

New Podcast Episode, Featuring Mihaly Fazekas

A new episode of KickBack: The Global Anticorruption Podcast is now available. In the new episode, my ICRN colleagues Nils Kobis and Christopher Starke interview Mihaly Fazekas, Assistant Professor of Public Policy at the Central European University. Professor Fazekas explains how he became interested in the study of corruption and describes some of his lines of research, including his work on measurement of corruption, particularly in the context of public procurement, and the challenges of scaling up the best corruption measures. The interview also covers additional topics such as the role of investigative journalism in fighting corruption, and the anticorruption potential impact of new technologies, including big data analysis and artificial intelligence.

You can also find both this episode and an archive of prior episodes at the following locations:

A quick note: We will be going on summer break, so we will not be releasing any new episodes over the next six weeks, but KickBack will return with new episodes in September. KickBack is a collaborative effort between GAB and the Interdisciplinary Corruption Research Network (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.

Guest Post: Anticorruption Recommendations for the Ukraine Recovery Conference

Today’s guest post is from Gretta Fenner, Managing Director of the Basel Institute on Governance, and Andrii Borovyk, Executive Director of Transparency International Ukraine.

Today and tomorrow, delegates from around the world are gathering at the Ukraine Recovery Conference in Lugano, Switzerland, and we hope that this conference will result in firm pledges by the international community to finance Ukraine’s post-war recovery and reconstruction. But as readers of this blog are well aware, huge infusions of money into countries recovering from war or natural disasters are a tempting target for kleptocrats, organized criminal groups, and other corrupt actors. And although Ukraine has steadily strengthened its anticorruption defenses since 2014, those defenses are not yet sufficiently robust to ensure reconstruction funds are spent with integrity.

For this reason, the Basel Institute on Governance and Transparency International Ukraine are advocating that the Ukraine Recovery Conference, and any future efforts to provide reconstruction funding for Ukraine, embrace a set of anticorruption measures to be integrated into the reconstruction process. The recommended measures include, among others:

  • prioritizing the leadership selection process and reforms of Ukraine’s anticorruption institutions, including courts;
  • using transparent procurement systems, such as Ukraine’s award-winning e-procurement system Prozorro, for reconstruction projects; and
  • strengthening asset recovery systems so that money stolen through corruption in the past can be used to help fuel reconstruction efforts.

You can see the full recommendations here in English (and here in Ukrainian ), and you can also download a shorter infographic that summarizes the key points.

New Podcast Episode, Featuring Michel Sapin and Valentina Lana

A new episode of KickBack: The Global Anticorruption Podcast is now available. In this episode, I interview Michel Sapin, who served in several senior positions in the French government (including as Minister of Finance from 1992-1993 and again from 2014-2017), and Valentina Lana, a French lawyer, compliance consultant, and lecturer at the Sciences Po Law Faculty in Paris. Our conversation focuses principally on the major legislative reform to French anticorruption law known as the Loi Sapin II (named for M. Sapin), which was adopted in December 2016 and went into effect in 2017. We discuss the changes in the political and economic environment that led to the passage of this law–which represented a dramatic shift in the French government’s approach to transnational bribery–and the impact that the law has had during the five-plus years that it has been in effect. My guests emphasize the positive impacts that the law has had in France, how it differs from the approach taken by the US and the UK, and how France and other countries should move forward on the anticorruption fight in the years to come. You can also find both this episode and an archive of prior episodes at the following locations: KickBack is a collaborative effort between GAB and the Interdisciplinary Corruption Research Network (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.

Anticorruption Bibliography–June 2022 Update

An updated version of my anticorruption bibliography is available from my faculty webpage. A direct link to the pdf of the full bibliography is here, and a list of the new sources added in this update is here. Additionally, the bibliography is available in more user-friendly, searchable form at Global Integrity’s Anti-Corruption Corpus website. As always, I welcome suggestions for other sources that are not yet included, including any papers GAB readers have written.

New Podcast Episode, Featuring Ray Fisman

A new episode of KickBack: The Global Anticorruption Podcast is now available. In this episode, I had the opportunity to interview Boston University Professor Ray Fisman, one of the world’s foremost economists working on corruption and related topics. In our conversation, Professor Fisman and I cover a range of topics related to his research, including the impact of corruption on economic development, the distinctions among different kinds of corruption (and their different effects), the human costs of corruption, and the hidden influence of political connections. Professor Fisman also discusses the conversations that inspired and shaped his research agenda, and the advice that he would offer up-and-coming scholars interested in exploring this set of topics. You can also find both this episode and an archive of prior episodes at the following locations: KickBack is a collaborative effort between GAB and the Interdisciplinary Corruption Research Network (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.

Anticorruption Bibliography–May 2022 Update

An updated version of my anticorruption bibliography is available from my faculty webpage. A direct link to the pdf of the full bibliography is here, and a list of the new sources added in this update is here. Additionally, the bibliography is available in more user-friendly, searchable form at Global Integrity’s Anti-Corruption Corpus website. As always, I welcome suggestions for other sources that are not yet included, including any papers GAB readers have written.

New Podcast Episode, Featuring Frederik Obermaier

A new episode of KickBack: The Global Anticorruption Podcast is now available. In this week’s episode, we are pleased to welcome back to the podcast the Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Frederik Obermaier of the German publication Süddeutsche Zeitung, who is also affiliated with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. We’ve been fortunate enough to have Mr. Obermaier on the podcast twice before, first in 2019 to discuss the Panama Papers, and then in 2020 to discuss the FinCEN Files. In this week’s episode, my ICRN colleague Christopher Starke talks with Mr. Obermaier about the work he and has collaborators have done on a set of stories based on another major leak, the so-called Suisse Secrets documents–files on thousands of customers of the Swiss Bank Credit Suisse, leaked by an anonymous source, which revealed that many Credit Suisse companies were extremely suspicious figures, including numerous corrupt politicians, as well as other organized crime figures and human rights abusers. The conversation highlights the systemic problems that continue to persist in the Swiss banking system, and more broadly. You can also find both this episode and an archive of prior episodes at the following locations: KickBack is a collaborative effort between GAB and the Interdisciplinary Corruption Research Network (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.  

Guest Announcement: Invitation to Join the Symposium on Supranational Responses to Corruption

Today’s guest post is from Alexandra Manea, Legal Counsel at the World Bank’s Office of Suspension and Debarment, and Jamieson Smith, the World Bank’s Chief Suspension and Debarment Officer.

Across the world, states play a fundamental role in shaping and enforcing the global anticorruption framework and agenda. But what happens when a state is unable to effectively counter corruption within its borders for various reasons? Are there supranational anticorruption mechanisms and remedies that could supplement the state’s response?

Experience shows that over the past two decades both public and private actors have developed supranational tools to tackle the “demand” and “supply” sides of corruption. A few examples include the sanctions systems of certain multilateral development banks, including the World Bank Group, which endeavor to protect development-intended funds from corruption by blacklisting corrupt contractors; the recently established European Public Prosecutor Office, designed to protect the European Union’s finances against corruption by prosecuting corrupt behaviors across EU member states; the exclusion mechanism of the Norwegian Government Pension Fund, the largest sovereign wealth fund with investments in over 9000 companies worldwide, that may divest from companies that engaged in corruption; and international corporations that have implemented robust integrity compliance programs across their affiliates at nationals levels.

To study these and other examples and to devise new opportunities for supranational remedies against corruption, a call for papers was launched last year, and was also published on this blog. We received hundreds of paper proposals from academics and practitioners from across numerous sectors and regions. The selected papers make up a rich agenda for our upcoming symposium, bringing together scholars and professionals from the private sector, international organizations, government, and civil society.  With this background, on behalf of the World Bank’s Office of Suspension and Debarment, the OECD’s Anti-Corruption Division, and the American Society of International Law’s Anti-Corruption Law Interest Group, we would like to invite all GAB followers to join the symposium on Supranational Responses to Corruption, on April 28-29, 2022. The event will be held in a hybrid format with about 30 presenters on site in Vienna, Austria, and hopefully with many of you attending online.

The main objective of the symposium is to study and reflect upon current and prospective anti-corruption efforts that transcend national boundaries or governments. The symposium will take stock of the current supranational anti-corruption mechanisms and standards, assess how to facilitate a multilateral understanding of these efforts, and discuss whether, to what extent, and how supranational anti-corruption institutions can move towards creating regional and/or transnational anti-corruption ecosystems that can effectively combat corruption irrespective of the actions, or lack thereof, of a specific state.

This symposium has been organized with the support of multiple organizations and professionals and we would like to thank them all for their valuable efforts in making this event possible. The International Anti-Corruption Academy, the World Economic Forum – Partnering Against Corruption Initiative, the Austrian Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs, and the OPEC Fund for International Development (event host in Vienna) provided important support.  Special thanks to GAB’s very own Matthew Stephenson, who generously helped us from the early stages through today, with sharpening the symposium’s focus, tailoring the agenda, and giving us the opportunity to invite GAB’s specialized audience to the symposium.

The full agenda is available here. You can register for April 28 here and for April 29 here. We hope to have many of you join the discussions!