John Morrell

Tackling the Supply Side of Corruption in Thailand

John Morrell, Corruption is widespread in Thailand, hindering business activity and impeding economic growth. According to Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, Thailand ranks 102 out of 177 countries and territories. Read more…

Instituting Improvements in Public Governance in the Philippines

John Morrell, At a conference held in Manila in 2013, the city of San Fernando presented the results of its work with the Institute for Solidarity in Asia (ISA), CIPE’s longtime public governance partner in the Philippines. The mayor of this bustling city of 250,000 in central Luzon explained that the city had reduced the poverty rate by nearly 70 percent since partnering with ISA, lowering the percentage of the city population living in abject poverty to 2 percent (compared to a national average nearly six times that). By 2013, more than 50 percent of San Fernando’s population were classified as “middle class”, up from 38 percent in 2005 (the national average is 19 percent). Moreover, the city had built an additional 6,300 housing units, made record investments in education, and private investment in the city was booming. The mayor proudly boasted that the city’s motto of “Kaya Natin ‘To (Yes We Can)” was increasingly true. San Fernando is one of a growing number of cases of remarkable improvements in public governance in the Philippines as a result of undertaking ISA’s Performance Governance System (PGS), a rigorous accreditation program that requires participating organizations to reform and strengthen their governance practices with the goal of improving organizational performance, financial transparency, and political accountability. Since 2004, CIPE has worked with ISA to develop and promote the program for local governments across the Philippines. When a city adopts the PGS program, city officials work with a broad-based community group to design specific public policy goals, an action plan to accomplish them, and performance metrics by which to measure progress. The program requires a city to implement a series of reforms that fundamentally transform its policymaking processes and bureaucratic structures, and its staff must complete a rigorous training regimen. ISA recruited an initial group of eight cities to adopt the PGS, and their success, and the successes of nearly 40 additional local governments that adopted the program over the years, led CIPE and ISA to apply this methodology to central government agencies beginning in 2010 and state-owned companies in 2013. By institutionalizing community input in local policymaking processes and by making public agencies more transparent and accountable, this project is strengthening the incentives of public officials to improve the quality and reliability of public services. Read more…

Approaches to Collective Action: How Businesses Together Can Lead the Fight Against Corruption

John Morrell, Kim Eric Bettcher, Article at a glance When private businesses are interested in reducing corruption, they can be mobilized to take concrete steps against it. This article introduces available tools for collective action – a strategic approach to mobilizing the business community in order to fight corruption. At its core, corruption is an institutional problem, and the institutional framework that sustains corruption must be changed. A key goal of collective action is to reduce the incentives and opportunities for corruption. Collective action is a coordinated, sustained process of cooperation among private firms and other stakeholders. In the fight against corruption, a coalition of companies united by a set of principles and standards can have a far greater aggregate impact. Read more…

How to Sustain Burma's Path Towards Democracy: The Need for Institutional Reform

John Morrell, Article at a glance Burma’s transition to democracy will prove unsustainable without substantive changes to the country’s political, administrative, and economic institutions. Economic growth must be widespread and economic opportunities arise for more than the well-connected few if democracy is to succeed in Burma. The Burmese government and its partners in the international development community must prioritize the development of durable, reliable and politically independent institutions. Read more…

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