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- Through associations, businesswomen can come together to address the social and economic challenges faced by female entrepreneurs.
- Developing a successful National Businesswomen’s Agenda requires that associations conduct thorough research to identify social, economic, and cultural hindrances faced by women in the private sector. Sound research will boster associations’ advocacy.
- Dialogue about women’s empowerment must engage male stakeholders. Involving men in conversations about women’s participation in the economy helps policymakers of both genders understand the importance of the legislative solutions being proposed, while also encouraging the challenge of social norms.
Corporate governance scandals in developed countries and the increasingly obvious lack of the appropriate institutions in other countries – property rights, the rule of law, etc. – necessitated the OECD revise their principles for corporate governance, originally issued in 1999. The improvements made in 2003 incorporated input from emerging markets to address the prevalence of family-owned business, privately held firms, and others not traded publicly on stock market. Adopted voluntarily, corporate governance standards and corporate citizenship practices, as well, do not become a burden on employers, but a sustainable way to engage the leadership of business to help shape a better society and healthy private sector.Read more...
During Lebanon’s civil war, local warlords and militias replaced unifying public institutions as the basis of government and social services. The extension of wartime elites into the post-war political system, a common feature in post-conflict countries, resulted in a system ostensibly designed to promote cooperation among competing factions but which, in reality, removed all checks and balances and facilitated the diversion of state resources for private financial and political gain. Government mismanagement combined with the elements of reconstruction – large public works projects, inflows of international assistance, privatizations – provides a recipe for systematic, organized, and almost legitimized corruption. In Lebanon, initial anti-corruption efforts floundered whether they came from elected leaders, the media, international pressure, or civil society because the political system in Lebanon, designed to compel political actors to choose between either consensus or deadlock, may have prevented the resumption of fighting but only at the cost of endemic corruption.Read more...
Recent public opinion data from a number of democratizing countries supposedly reveal a disturbing trend to abandon democratic reforms in favor of a return to authoritarian rule. However, this popular disaffection stems not from a loss of faith in the principles and benefits of democracy, but from frustration at the slow pace of reform. Many citizens, frustrated with their economic situation, believe that a strong, centralized government could provide a quick fix, mistakenly blaming the lack of improvement in economic inequality on reform itself. In many cases, the democratic nature of these regimes did not extend beyond the ballot box, and reforms have either been abandoned or carried out incompletely. Meanwhile, states that have undertaken democratization more fully and transparently are reaping economic rewards. Therefore, instead of giving up on democratic reform and forfeiting their rights in hopes of rapid economic improvement, citizens should insist on the development of the institutions that underlie functioning democracies and market economies.Read more...
Analysts see Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva establishing a development model that combines the macroeconomic elements of the Washington Consensus with enhanced spending on social services. The new plan, dubbed the “Brasilia Consensus,” would elevate social welfare to the level of structural reforms within a larger economic reform process, providing a new model of development for the region. But notwithstanding some success, the reforms have hewn closely to macroeconomic elements and have not yet included the promised boost to social welfare programs that would have made the Brasilia approach unique. It remains to be seen if the current administration will end up implementing its new vision of economic reform that can serve as a model to other countries in the region.Read more...
China’s introduction of economic reforms in 1978 gave the private sector greater control over the economy, but under an official state ideology that severely restricted citizens from organizing or participating in the policy-making process, any business associations that existed then were most likely adjuncts of the government with no accountability to their membership. In recent years, though, private business associations have begun to develop at the local level in cities all over China as the result of the government’s need to reduce spending combined with the desire of private entrepreneurs to translate their newly created wealth into an enhanced role in the policy-making process. These newly formed voluntary membership associations enjoy financial independence and focus on networking, information dissemination, and business facilitation, but they also provide members with access to government officials, thereby creating a forum for a public-private dialogue. Though hesitant to confront the government as differences of opinion on policy matters are uncovered, associations will have to transition into policy advocates or risk losing membership.Read more...
- Democratic Governance
- Access to Information
- Combating Corruption
- Business Association Development
- Corporate Governance
- Legal & Regulatory Reform
- Informal Sector & Property Rights
- Corporate Citizenship (CSR)
- South Asia
- Middle East & North Africa
- Latin America & the Caribbean
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