6,747 research outputs found

    "Seize the state, seize the day": state capture, corruption, and influence in transition

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    The main challenge of the transition has been to redefine how the state interacts with firms, but little attention has been paid to the flip side of the relationship : how firms influence the state - especially how they exert influence on, and collude with public officials to extract advantages. Some firms in transition economies have been able to shape the rules of the game to their own advantage, at considerable social cost, creating what the authors call a"capture economy"in many countries. In the capture economy, public officials, and politicians privately sell under-provided public goods, and a range of rent-generating advantages"a la carte"to individual firms. The authors empirically investigate the dynamics of the capture economy, on the basis of new firm-level data from the 1999 Business Environment and enterprise performance survey (BEEPS), which permits the unbundling of corruption into meaningful, and measurable components. they contrast state capture (firms shaping, and affecting formulation of the rules of the game through private payments to public officials, and politicians) with influence (doing the same without recourse to payments), and with administrative corruption ("petty"forms of bribery in connection with the implementation of laws, rules, and regulations). They develop economy-wide measures for these phenomena, which are then subject to empirical measurement utilizing the BEEPS data. State capture, influence, and administrative corruption are all shown to have distinct causes, and consequences. Large incumbent firms with formal ties to the state tend to inherit influence as a legacy of the past, and tend to enjoy more secure property, and contractual rights, and higher growth rates. To compete against these influential incumbents, new entrants turn to state capture as a strategic choice - not as a substitute for innovation, but to compensate for weaknesses in the legal, and regulatory framework. When the state under-provides the public goods needed for entry and competition,"captor"firms purchase directly from the state, such private benefits as secure property rights, and removal of obstacles to improved performance - but only in a capture economy. Consistent with empirical findings in previous research on petty corruption, administrative corruption - unlike both capture and influence - is not associated with specific benefits for the firm. The focus of reform should be shifted toward channeling firms'strategies in the direction of more legitimate forms of influence, involving societal"voice", transparency reform, political accountability, and economic competition, Where state capture has distorted reform to create (or preserve) monopolistic structures, supported by powerful political interests, the challenge is particularly daunting.Roads&Highways,Corruption&Anitcorruption Law,Decentralization,Economic Theory&Research,National Governance,National Governance,Governance Indicators,Economic Theory&Research,Corruption&Anitcorruption Law,Microfinance

    Far From Home: Do Foreign Investors Import Higher Standards of Governance in Transition Economies?

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    Based on the Business Environment and Enterprise Performance Survey (BEEPS) of firms in transition countries, which unbundles corruption to measure different types of corrupt transactions and provide detailed information on the characteristics and performance of firms, we find that: i) corruption reduces FDI inflows and attracts lower quality investment in terms of governance standards; ii) in misgoverned settings, FDI firms may magnify the problems of state capture and procurement kickbacks, while paying a lower overall bribe burden than domestic firms; iii) FDI firms undertake those forms of corruption that suit their comparative advantages, generating substantial gains for them and challenging the premise that they are coerced, which makes it difficult to develop effective constraints on such behavior; and, iv) transnational legal restrictions to prevent bribery had not led to higher standards of corporate conduct among foreign investors by the year 2000. Rather than being construed as a case against foreign investment; we argue that state capture is created and maintained through restrictions on competition and entry in strategic sectors. Thus, enhancing competition by attracting a wider, more diverse set of FDI firms is critical to the broader strategic framework of fighting state capture and corruption.foreign direct investment, FDI, kickbacks, state capture, bribery, corporate governance, corruption, governance, transition economies

    It\u27s Not the Thought that Counts

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    The article considers a central question about discrimination – are an actor’s intentions relevant to whether an action wrongfully discriminates – and takes issue with a familiar answer to this question. If one thinks of “discrimination” in its literal sense, as simply drawing distinctions among people on the basis of possessing or lacking some trait, it becomes clear that discrimination is ubiquitous and often benign. The challenge is to distinguish when discrimination is permissible and when it is not. One common answer to this question is that it is the intentions of the actor who adopts or enacts a law, policy or decision that are crucial. Legal doctrine, both constitutional and statutory, reflects this view by treating the actor’s intentions as centrally important. But is the moral claim on which it rests defensible; are intentions morally relevant to whether discrimination is wrong? The article argues that the actor’s intent in enacting a law, adopting a policy or making a decision is irrelevant to the moral assessment of whether the law, policy or decision wrongfully discriminates. The article begins in Part I by drawing an analogy to a debate in the philosophical literature about the Doctrine of Double Effect in order to press the point that the focus on intentions confuses assessment of the wrongfulness of the action with assessment of the moral blameworthiness of the actor. The article goes on to argue that when we look more closely at instances of discrimination, we see that it is not the aims of the actor that render the action wrongful, rather it is what the actor does, whether intentional or unintentional, that matters. Parts II and III raise and reply to objections to the arguments advanced in Part I. In particular, Part II explores the argument that the actor’s intent is necessary to determine whether or not a law or policy distinguishes among people on the basis of a suspect trait. Part III explores objections meant to show that bad intentions contribute, at the very least, to rendering an action wrongful. The article finishes by concluding that, as far as discrimination is concerned, it is not the thought that counts

    Measuring governance, corruption, and State capture - how firms and bureaucrats shape the business environment in transition economies

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    As a symptom of fundamental institutional weaknesses, corruption needs to be viewed within a broader governance framework. It thrives where the state is unable to reign over its bureaucracy, to protect property and contractual rights, or to provide institutions that support the rule off law. Furthermore, governance failures at the national level cannot be isolated from the interface between the corporate and state sectors, in particular from the heretofore under-emphasized influence that firms may exert on the state. Under certain conditions, corporate strategies may exacerbate mis-governance at the national level. An in-depth empirical assessment of the links between corporate behavior and national governance can thus provide particular insights. The 1999 Business Environment and Enterprise Performance Survey (BEEPS) - the transition economies component of the ongoing World Business Environment Survey - assesses in detail the various dimensions of governance from the perspective of about 3,000 firms in 20 countries. After introducing the survey framework and measurement approach, the authors present the survey results, focusing on governance, corruption, and state capture. By unbundling governance into its many dimensions, BEEPS permits an in-depth empirical assessment. The authors pay special attention to certain forms of grand corruption, notably state capture by parts of the corporate sector - that is, the propensity of firms to shape the underlying rules of the game by"purchasing"decrees, legislation, and influence at the central bank, which is found to be prevalent in a number of transition economies. The survey also measures other dimensions of grand corruption, including those associated with public procurement, and quantifies the more traditional ("prettier") forms of corruption. Cross-country surveys may suffer from bias if firms tend to systematically over- or underestimate the extent of problems within their country. The authors provide a new test of this potential bias, finding little evidence of country perception bias in BEEPS.Small Scale Enterprise,Decentralization,Corruption&Anitcorruption Law,Public Sector Corruption&Anticorruption Measures,Small and Medium Size Enterprises,National Governance,Governance Indicators,Corruption&Anitcorruption Law,Public Sector Corruption&Anticorruption Measures,Economic Policy, Institutions and Governance

    Measuring Governance, Corruption and State Capture: How Firms and Bureaucrats Shape the Business Environment in Transition Economies

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    Recent studies have focussed on the characteristics and policies of the state to explain the extent and causes of corruption, with little attention paid to the role played by firms. Consequently, the links between corporate governance and national governance have been unexplored. This paper summarises the results of the Business Environment and Enterprise Performance Survey (BEEPS) across 20 transition economies, providing an assessment of governance and corruption from the perspective of firms. The BEEPS is part of the global World Business Environment Survey being carried out by the World Bank. The survey design permits an in-depth empirical analysis of governance and corruption, unbundling governance into its component dimensions. This allows a more detailed quantitative assessment of corruption, a more nuanced understanding of the causes of the problem and as a result a stronger foundation for policy advice. Particular attention is paid to 'state capture' by parts of the corporate sector (i.e. the propensity of firms to shape the underlying 'rules of the game' including 'purchase' of legislation and court decisions). The survey also provides measures of other dimensions of 'grand corruption', such as that related to public procurement. Typically, cross-country surveys suffer from a potential bias if firms have a tendency to systematically over- or under-estimate the extent of problems in their own country. We implement a simple method for evaluating the extent of this 'country perception bias' and find little evidence pointing to such bias in the BEEPS.Governance, corruption, state capture, transition economies

    Lattice dynamics of anharmonic solids from first principles

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    An accurate and easily extendable method to deal with lattice dynamics of solids is offered. It is based on first-principles molecular dynamics simulations and provides a consistent way to extract the best possible harmonic - or higher order - potential energy surface at finite temperatures. It is designed to work even for strongly anharmonic systems where the traditional quasiharmonic approximation fails. The accuracy and convergence of the method are controlled in a straightforward way. Excellent agreement of the calculated phonon dispersion relations at finite temperature with experimental results for bcc Li and bcc Zr is demonstrated

    \u3csup\u3e99m\u3c/sup\u3eTc-Labeled C2A Domain of Synaptotagmin I as a Target-Specific Molecular Probe for Noninvasive Imaging of Acute Myocardial Infarction

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    Abstract: The exposure of phosphatidylserine (PtdS) is a common molecular marker for both apoptosis and necrosis and enables the simultaneous detection of these distinct modes of cell death. Our aim was to develop a radiotracer based on the PtdS-binding activity of the C2A domain of synaptotagmin I and assess 99mTc-C2A-GST (GST is glutathione S-transferase) using a reperfused acute myocardial infarction (AMI) rat model. Methods: The binding of C2A-GST toward apoptosis and necrosis was validated in vitro. After labeling with 99mTc via 2-iminothiolane thiolation, radiochemical purity and radiostability were tested. Pharmacokinetics and biodistribution were studied in healthy rats. The uptake of 99mTc-C2A-GST within the area at risk was quantified by direct γ-counting, whereas nonspecific accumulation was estimated using inactivated 99mTc-C2A-GST. In vivo planar imaging of AMI in rats was performed on a γ-camera using a parallel-hole collimator. Radioactivity uptake was investigated by region-of-interest analysis, and postmortem tetrazolium staining versus autoradiography. Results: Fluorescently labeled and radiolabeled C2A-GST bound both apoptotic and necrotic cells. 99mTc-C2A-GST had a radiochemical purity of \u3e98% and remained stable. After intravenous injection, the uptake in the liver and kidneys was significant. For 99mTc-C2A-GST, radioactivity uptake in the area at risk reached between 2.40 and 2.63 %ID/g (%ID/g is percentage injected dose per gram) within 30 min and remained plateaued for at least 3 h. In comparison, with the inactivated tracer the radioactivity reached 1.06 ± 0.49 %ID/g at 30 min, followed by washout to 0.52 ± 0.23 %ID/g. In 7 of 7 rats, the infarct was clearly identifiable as focal uptake in planar images. At 3 h after injection, the infarct-to-lung ratios were 2.48 ± 0.27, 1.29 ± 0.09, and 1.46 ± 0.04 for acute-infarct rats with 99mTc-C2A-GST, sham-operated rats with 99mTc-C2A-GST, and acute-infarct rats with 99mTc-C2A-GST-NHS (NHS is N-hydroxy succinimide), respectively. The distribution of radioactivity was confirmed by autoradiography and histology. Conclusion: The C2A domain of synaptotagmin I labeled with fluorochromes or a radioisotope binds to both apoptotic and necrotic cells. Ex vivo and in vivo data indicate that, because of elevated vascular permeability, both specific binding and passive leakage contribute to the accumulation of the radiotracer in the area at risk. However, the latter component alone is insufficient to achieve detectable target-to-background ratios with in vivo planar imaging

    A vocabulary-independent generation framework for DBpedia and beyond

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    The dbpedia Extraction Framework, the generation framework behind one of the Linked Open Data cloud’s central hubs, has limitations which lead to quality issues with the dbpedia dataset. Therefore, we provide a new take on its Extraction Framework that allows for a sustainable and general-purpose Linked Data generation framework by adapting a semantic-driven approach. The proposed approach decouples, in a declarative manner, the extraction, transformation, and mapping rules execution. This way, among others, interchanging different schema annotations is supported, instead of being coupled to a certain ontology as it is now, because the dbpedia Extraction Framework allows only generating a certain dataset with a single semantic representation. In this paper, we shed more light to the added value that this aspect brings. We provide an extracted dbpedia dataset using a different vocabulary, and give users the opportunity to generate a new dbpedia dataset using a custom combination of vocabularies
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