ERF 2012 Annual Conference: Corruption and Development – Video highlights

Corruption is unethical. But it may also have deleterious effects on economic development, breeding negative work ethics and leading to waste and misallocation of resources as well as adverse distribution of income and wealth.

The  ERF’s 18th Annual Conference explored the magnitude and consequences of corruption, identified its causes (both at the micro level and in relation to the political regime) and proposed possible remedies.

This trailer provides an overview of the Conference and the issues that emerged. It also underlines the role that ERF can play to further understand the problem of corruption and economic development.

ERF takes on corruption

by Caroline Freund, posted in the World Bank MENA blog

Reducing corruption requires integrity and economic growth. This was the main message I took from the Economic Research Forum’s (ERF) annual conference in Cairo this week focused on eradicating corruption. More traditional calls for transparency and accountability, while still critical, were overshadowed by the recognition that incentives for corruption will persist unless people have a moral aversion to it and evidence that the only foolproof correlation with low corruption is high per capita income.

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Role of firms and export performance in Syria – ERF Award Winner

The fourth and final plenary session at the Economic Research Forum’s Annual Conference on Corruption and Economic Development was dedicated to granting awards to distinguished papers presented for the Conference. Abstracts and papers presented went through a highly selective screening process where a number of factors were weighed, such as topic, scope, methodology, and rigour.

The paper Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due – The Firm Determinants of Recent Export Performances in Syria resulted amongst the winners. The paper has an international economics emphasis and it focuses on the role of firms in export trends in Syria. In the videos below, we caught up co-authors Rabie Nasser and Marc Schiffbauer.

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Is religion an obstacle to pro-women legal reforms in Morocco? By Imane Chaara, ERF Award Winner

Why do people need to identify themselves with the law? What kind of effect do education, location and religion have on the way people react towards legal reforms? How do women in Morocco react in response to legal reforms? Is religion an obstacle to pro-women legal reforms?

These questions were addressed by Imane Chaara, Member of the Centre of Research in Economics of Development – University of Namur, in her paper entitled “Pro-women legal reform in Morocco: Is religion an obstacle?”.

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بإمكان الحق أن يكون خاطئاً: الشفافية في منطقة الشرق الأوسط

تم ترجمة هذا النص بمعرفة رماج ندا

تمثل محاربة الفساد في البلدان النامية تحديا، إلا أن المعلومات يمكن أن تشكل أداة قوية في الكشف عن الفساد. في البلدان الناشئة والتي تمر بمرحلة انتقالية، تكون إمكانية الحصول على المعلومات لصالح الحكومات، إلى حد كبير، أكثر من المواطنين. إن حق الحصول على المعلومات يعزز الشفافية، كما أن له دور فعال في مكافحة الفساد. ويجب أن يتم إضفاء الطابع المؤسسي على إجراءات الشفافية في البرامج السياسية بطريقة فعالة لضمان وجود إجراءات وقائية متسقة في المستقبل.

 ففي الدول المنتجة للنفط في الشرق الأوسط، تميل الأنظمة الاستبدادية الحاكمة إلى امتلاك عائدات واحتياطيات النفط. فوفقاً لمايكل روس، جامعة كاليفورنيا، إن ميزانيات العائدات النفطية كثثيراً ما تتصف بالغموض والسرية، غير أنه يوجد بعض الاختلافات الإقليمية، وهناك استثناءات لقاعدة السرية، وتعتبر الكويت مثال على ذلك.

 ولاحظ زياد بهاء الدين، عضو مجلس الشعب –مصر، أن أخطر أنواع الفساد ذلك الذي يبنى على الأسس القانونية للسياسات، وذلك خلال الجلسة الختامية للمؤتمر السنوي لمنتدى البحوث الاقتصادية الثامن عشر. وتصبح هذه المشكلة منذرة بالقلق لا سيما عندما تكون أهداف الفساد في واقع الأمر منظمة من قِبَل الهيئات التشريعية.

محاربة الفساد خيار

هناك أنماط مختلفة في محاربة الفساد وتعزيز الشفافية، ومن بينها المساءلة الأفقية والتي تعرف بالعلاقة بين المهام التنفيذية والتشريعية للحوكمة. ويرى براتاب ميهتا، مركز البحوث السياسية، أنه يمكن ضمان استدامة الهوية السياسية والاجتماعية، وذلك من خلال: الفصل بين السلطات، ومراجعة الحسابات الاجتماعية، وإنتاج المعلومات، واستراتيجيات السوق المفتوحة، وتخصيص الموارد من خلال القنوات الرسمية.

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The right can still be wrong: Transparency in the MENA region

By Haitham el Khouly and Shahira Emara

Fighting corruption in developing countries is a challenge. However, information can be an extremely powerful tool in exposing corruption. In emerging and transition countries, the balance of information between government and citizens is largely in favor of governments. The right to information enhances transparency and is instrumental in the fight against corruption. Transparency measures need be institutionalized in political agendas in an effective way to ensure consistent prevention procedures in the future.

In oil-producing countries in the Middle East, ruling autocracies tend to own oil revenues and reserves. They are seen to be exceptionally opaque and secretive when it comes to financial budgets, according to Michael Ross, University of California. There, are, however distinct regional variations and there are exceptions to the secrecy rule, Kuwait being a case in point.

In the closing plenary session at the ERF’s 18th Annual Conference, ZiadBahaa-Eldin, Member of the People’s Assembly, Egypt, notes that the most severe type of corruption is the one built into the legal foundation of policies. This problem becomes particularly alarming when the goals of corruption are de facto regulated by legislative bodies.

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Labor market dynamics in Egypt and Turkey

Individuals with low education in Egypt, are subject to one job career which gives them very little opportunity for improving life standards. This was one of the findings of the paper  Structural labor market transitions and wage dispersion in Egypt by Chaimaa Yassine, discussed at the session on Labor market dynamics at the ERF’s 18th Annual Conference.

For Insan Tunali, University of Minnesota and ERF, who chaired the session, the paper indicates that arrival rates of offers for workers inEgypt are generally higher when unemployed than when employed.

He added that the paper studies labor market differentials across the different educational groups in Egypt showing that the wide variation in frictional transition parameters across these groups help in explaining persistent unemployment and wage differentials especially among the very high educated.

The second paper discussed in the session Labor mobility between the formal/informal divide inTurkey: evidence from individual level data, by Aysit Tansel and Elif Oznur Acar, implements the mobility analysis to Turkish Labor markets with a specific emphasis on informality. He added that persistence in the area where one starts from is the pattern in Turkey.

Tunali added that the study takes a labor mobility analysis in the context of formal/informal division in Turkey. One of the interesting findings was that Turkish women do not have much of a chance to move out of informal sectors if they start out there.