Will leaving oil in the ground reduce corruption in natural resources?
A recent OECD report analyzed data from 427 law enforcement actions on bribery of foreign public officials in international business transactions to find that extractive industry firms are the most often sanctioned for foreign bribery (compared to firms in other sectors) and that employees of state owned enterprises are the most common targets. Classic interpretations of the "resource curse" explain how excessive dependence on revenues from extractive industries in particular can lead governments to deviate from strategies that could enhance general societal welfare. This includes engaging in patronage politics and rent-seeking. Given the interlinkages between various corrupt practices and the wider governance of extractive industries, might energy policies that leave extractive wealth in the ground also have beneficial anti-corruption (side-)effects? The presentation discussed this question with reference to recent research on corruption in renewable resource sectors and the positing by some scholars of a potential new "green resource curse".
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