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Rampant corruption in the 1990s ensured that most interactions between entrepreneurs and Georgian officials involved a combination of bribery, coercion, and shady dealings. When providing services mandated by law, public officials would frequently use their positions to extract additional income from ordinary citizens. But the blame should not be placed solely on the shoulders of public officials – exploiting institutional failures, citizens would also offer bribes to get preferential treatment or to speed up the process.Read more...
Working for a Norwegian NGO during the war in Bosnia, Lejla Radoncic wanted to find a way to help refugees flooding into Tuzla from nearby Srebrenica, where more than 7,000 Bosnians perished in some of the war’s worst violence. Realizing that international funding would not continue forever, she developed a program to help women support themselves.
Her project grew into Bosnian Handicrafts, a clothing and home furnishings line produced by Bosnian women and sold globally online and through retailers in Europe, Japan, the U.S., and elsewhere. Nieman Marcus, National Geographic, and Sundance are among the U.S. retailers who sell the handmade goods. The effort began with 50 women in one settlement and now provides work for up to 700 women at a time. Bosnian Handicrafts is the sole source of economic support for more than 80 percent of its workers, who receive ten weeks of training in sizing, specifications, and meeting the demands of foreign markets.Read more...
CIPE: Corporations are increasingly embracing the concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR). What are the main driving forces and why has Starbucks embraced the movement?
Sandra Taylor: For Starbucks, CSR is really about conducting business in a way that produces social, environmental, and economic benefits for all the communities in which we operate. Social consciousness has always been at the core of our business. In general, I think the main driving force behind corporate social responsibility is consumer awareness, which we see as a very positive development. Over the past few years, the public has become more educated on concepts such as global warming, poverty alleviation, human rights, and the broader concept of sustainability. Sustainability is certainly important to agricultural commodities, such as coffee, tea, cocoa, and water, and permeates every aspect of our business.
CIPE: What are the main benefits and challenges of corporate social responsibility for business?Read more...
The limited analysis of Afghanistan’s political economy has focused extensively on the illicit narcotics sector and has not sufficiently addressed informal sector issues. As a result, three important characteristics of the Afghan economy have been widely neglected: participation in the market is not open to all, benefits are spread unevenly among participants, and the country’s market structures in their current state undermine governance and state-building.
These factors have the potential to seriously impede both the democratic and economic development of Afghanistan. The key concern of policymakers has been to create a light regulatory state to promote private sector growth, hoping that competitive pricing and market efficiency will eventually arise out of the forces of supply and demand. It is imperative that policymakers consider the broad political implications of such growth, which may not necessarily be free and equitable, rather than simply assuming that the market will lead to a democratic and prosperous society.Read more...
Kosovo is one of the former Yugoslavia’s last regions to begin transitioning to a free-market democracy. While there has been some progress towards this goal, the process of change has been frustratingly slow. Many familiar with the region and its challenges would agree that a key barrier to reform is a weak and ineffective governance system, split among multiple agencies. This problem is manifested in an inefficient public sector that is burdened by a lack of transparency, accountability, and clearly defined roles for stakeholders. The absence of a governing principle for publicly owned enterprises (POEs) has contributed greatly to this confusion.Read more...
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CIPE welcomes articles submitted by readers. Most articles run between 3-7 pages (1000-3000 words), but all submissions relevant to CIPE's mission of building accountable, democratic institutions through market-oriented reform will be considered based on merit. Economic Reform Feature Service articles are primarily geared toward an international, non-academic community of businesspeople, economic reformers, and policy-makers. Specific policy recommendations and articles based on direct experience are encouraged. In addition to articles, we are willing to adapt suitable lectures, speeches, research notes, and academic papers.
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