Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The prices of corruption 

From a talk given by Daniel Kaufmann on his departure from the World Bank last week. This bribe fee table is from 1996; I was a USAID advisor to the National Bank of Ukraine when Dani was head of the World Bank office in the country at that time, and was the first of the researchers into corruption to come from that institution. We met a few times; I do not know him well, but his work was important to many of us working in the country. If you didn't pay the inspector, you were closed. If you needed to import or export anything to the country, you had to register. Each of these required a fee to be paid.

Two things: 1. For those of you that heard me talk about my book on Ed's show earlier today, this type of table is exactly the kind of data we look for, which is to seek things at the micro level. While I appreciate the work of Transparency International, their data is not a substitute for what Kaufmann and his researchers tried to accomplish at the Bank. For most of the important research, the micro-level data appears to be better.

2. Kaufmann quotes the governor of the National Bank of Ukraine, who spoke at a gathering for Kaufmann's departure (which I believe I attended):
But I want to acknowledge the most important thing that you did is that you made sure that neither the World Bank nor the IMF, for the first two years, gave us a cent in loans, because we basically were not ready. The cadre that was in power would never have reformed, and this would have perpetuated non-reforms.
The speaker of course is now-President Viktor Yushchenko. I wonder if the Bush Administration entertained this thought before agreeing to the auto bailout?

Labels: , ,