The Role of the Private Sector in Reducing Corruption in Latin America
This project will study private sector efforts to promote better compliance with anticorruption laws in Latin America. Corruption, bribery, and the private sector In the last decade, global efforts to curb economic crimes in developing countries have focused increasingly on the private sector's role in helping to prevent bribery and other corrupt acts. Legal incentives have been introduced under national laws to encourage multinational corporations based in industrialized countries to prevent illegal practices in their developing-country operations. Self-regulation and legal incentives The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and its member countries have led these policy changes. There is now a need for private sector companies to take on a greater role in self-regulating their own activities. This would complement existing public regulation models, which are based on state agencies investigating and prosecuting public and private sector officials. The self-regulation model is based on the idea that companies are closer to and in a better position to detect and prevent offences. Most Latin American countries have started to discuss adopting similar legal incentives to expand their reach beyond foreign-owned multinationals to other important private actors: -large local business groups -"multi-latinas" (large Latin American-owned and operated companies) -small- and medium-sized enterprises -state-owned enterprises Given their combined market share in Latin America, it is important to improve the practices of all companies, and not just those of multinational corporations.. This appears to be an important condition for genuine private sector engagement in the fight against economic crimes and corruption. Most effective models Not surprisingly, these legal and policy changes are generating an intense public-private debate within countries and regional forums. At the heart of those debates are questions of how to balance public, public-private, and private regulation models. This project will help feed into those debates by developing a better understanding of the legal models and incentives that are most effective in Latin America. Specifically, researchers will look at models that encourage private sector efforts to curb corrupt practices to ensure that private and public regulation efforts reinforce one other. There is emerging research on some of the questions about companies' efforts to combat corruption, but almost nothing in Latin America. The Center for Anticorruption Studies at the Universidad de San Andre¿s, Argentina, will lead the research. It will draw on its extensive network of academics, business associations, companies, and anticorruption officials. Researchers will use experiences in Chile, Brazil, Argentina, and Peru to help spur greater awareness and debate in neighbouring countries (Colombia, Bolivia, and Paraguay) where similar legislative efforts and debates are still emerging.