Author Archives: Guest Blogger

How do Businesses Strategize Peace? Emerging Issues from Colombia

– While the importance of the private sector for war-to-peace transitions is clear, little has been said about the specific strategies adopted by companies in transition periods. How do companies prepare for peace? What choices do they face? And what unique strategies do firms take to adapt to political change? Here, Jason Miklian and Angelika Rettberg identify four types of business strategies for peace (operational, political, philanthropic, public relations) used by firms operating in Colombia to expose key knowledge gaps and promote new research strands that can better integrate strategy and risk calculations into testable study of business-peace relationships.

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A helpful response to unhelpful research; and a call for ideas

– In January, Mark Pyman wrote a blog on this site on the unhelpful nature of anti-corruption research. Now Mark shares the key points from the many thoughtful and thought provoking responses it elicited. Inspired by the responses, he suggests what could be done to accelerate the usefulness of anti-corruption research, and ends with a call for ideas. – Continue reading

Approaching corruption through the lens of masculinities

– Héctor Portillo and Sebastián Molanon propose three ways in which the expectations, pressures, and privileges of “being a man” may shed light on male attitudes towards corruption. –

Although corruption is not by any means our field of study, we both grew up in countries where corruption is normalized to the point where not engaging in it is not only considered rare but naïve. Coincidentally, both of our countries of origin, Mexico and Colombia, also have a deeply embedded culture of sexism and machismo. Our personal experiences with sexism, masculinities, and corruption motivated us to explore how the expectations, pressures, and privileges of “being a man” can encourage or deter an individual’s engagement in corruption.

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Framing Corruption: Do our frames limit our effectiveness?

Diana Chigas, JD, argues that the way we are framing the problem of corruption in fragile states is limiting our vision and leading us to ignore the key drivers to corruption. In particular, Diana discusses what she observed during her research in northern Uganda regarding reactions to the ‘moral frame’ through which corruption is commonly addressed. Continue reading

The Financial Journeys of Refugees: Charting a research agenda – Is corruption a relevant framework?

In this post, Roxanne Krystalli and Kim Wilson, who collectively specialize in financial inclusion, gender and violence, and research methods in vulnerable settings, discuss some of the emerging questions that their research has identified at the intersection of forced migration, money, relationships along refugee journeys, and corruption.

In March 2016, Transparency International mapped the ways in which corruption affects refugee journeys across the Mediterranean. Key points to consider included bribes to border officials and landowners to allow refugees to pass, the role of smugglers, the use of fake life vests, and risks of refugee coercion by formal authorities and smugglers alike. Transparency International concluded, “fighting corruption is critical for mitigating refugee smuggling and ending the conflicts which are driving people to flee their homes.”

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) further reinforces the view that the international community needs to fight corruption and “understand the intricate connections between corruption and refugee smuggling.” Continue reading

When Cows Facilitate Court, the Culture of Gifting and Corruption in Modern Courts

– In this post, Juliet Harty Hatanga, who has ten years of experience working with the Courts of Judicature of Uganda, discusses two cases in which the social norms of corruption and the culture of gifting challenged her ethics and training as a judicial officer. She argues that, despite the challenging cultural environment, it is well within the power of judges to make sure that justice is done – and seen to be done – at all times. –

In December 2006, I joined the Uganda public service as a judicial officer and was posted to work in Lira as a magistrate. At the time, most of the government infrastructure responsible for upholding the rule of law had totally broken down. I recall that most of the internally displaced people camps were beyond full capacity. The majority of people preferred to stay in the camps where they were assured of some form of protection from the Uganda Police, in spite of a government disbarment in the peace recovery and development plan program. Continue reading

Do Anti-Corruption Agencies Really Matter? Some Lessons on State Legitimacy from Indonesia

– This week in the corruption in fragile states blog series, researcher Sergio Gemperle questions the role of anti-corruption agencies (ACAs) in increasing state legitimacy. He argues that state legitimacy can suffer from ACA success, as well as from ACA failure. He shares Indonesia’s struggle between the KPK, the police and the government. Have you had similar experiences with ACAs in other countries or contexts? –

In the early 2000s, corruption regained prominence in development policy debates, culminating in the adoption of numerous international anti-corruption conventions such as the United Nations Convention Against Corruption. Henceforth, many countries established specialised anti-corruption agencies and expectations about their effectiveness were high. Continue reading