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Detecting Corruption and Evaluating Programs to Control It: Some Lessons for MENA

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  • Jeffrey B. Nugent

    (University of Southern California)

Abstract

This paper attempts the following tasks. First, it attempts to examine the seriousness of corruption in the MENA region as a whole as well in individual countries of the region or even sectors or regions thereof and how this may have changed over time. Second, it takes advantage of a stylized simple principal agent model to help identify both various determinants of corruption as well as possible policies to control corruption. Third, it summarizes some relevant findings from around the world with anti-corruption policies and programs, and of methods for their evaluation so as to serve as a guide for future anti-corruption efforts and research in MENA. The results of the first task are (1) that, while earlier corruption in MENA had not been as serious compared to other regions of developing countries, more recently it has been on a sharp rise in most MENA countries and especially in those which earlier were reported to have the lowest levels of corruption, (2) that from firm surveys in MENA countries, ordinary (or micro-level) corruption seems to be positively associated with certain other obstacles to doing business, such as tax administration, crime, political instability and competition from the informal sector, and (3) that, because of the vulnerability of natural resource revenues to insufficiently transparent accounting, MENA seems to be the region with the greatest apparent corruption in the form of international payments leakages. The result of the second task is a list of ten potentially important anti-corruption measures. From the third task we identify empirical and experimental evidence from around the world assessing the appropriateness and applicability of each of the ten anti-corruption measures identified. Since most of this research comes from other parts of the world, further research will be needed in MENA country conditions to determine the applicability and comparative cost-effectiveness of alternative corruption-reducing treatments. For this reason, special attention is given to some of the assessment methods that have proved useful in other countries but also to several measures that would seem especially appropriate in the conditions of MENA countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Jeffrey B. Nugent, 2012. "Detecting Corruption and Evaluating Programs to Control It: Some Lessons for MENA," Working Papers 738, Economic Research Forum, revised 2012.
  • Handle: RePEc:erg:wpaper:738
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    JEL classification:

    • P48 - Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems - - - Political Economy; Legal Institutions; Property Rights; Natural Resources; Energy; Environment; Regional Studies
    • F63 - International Economics - - Economic Impacts of Globalization - - - Economic Development

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