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Annual Conference
ERF 18th Annual Conference: Corruption and Economic Development
Cairo, Egypt
25 March 2012 - 27 March 2012

The Annual Conference of the Economic Research Forum (ERF) has evolved over the past 18 years to become one of the most important regional platforms for ERF and non-ERF affiliates to discuss frontier thinking about economic development, learn from one another and interact with international scholars. This conference comes at a time when ERF’s region is undergoing significant political transformation and will focus in its plenary sessions on a pertinent issue, namely Corruption and Economic Development. The plenary sessions featured renowned economists and opinion makers. It was held in Cairo, Egypt, March 25-27, 2012, and hosted more than 200 participants.

Besides the plenary sessions, there were 6 parallel sessions, involving the presentation of more than 50 papers under the themes of: institutional economics, finance, macroeconomics, international economics, labor and human development and microeconomics. Parallel session papers are selected on the basis of a rigorous refereeing process in response to an open call for papers, hence their diversity. The closing session celebrates the six winners of the “Best Paper Award.”

Conference Theme
Corruption is unethical. But it may also have deleterious effects on economic development, breeding negative work ethics and leading to waste and misallocation of resources as well as adverse distribution of income and wealth. In addition, corruption is often associated with violence, crime and in extreme cases may result in popular revolts. The objective of the three plenary sessions in this conference was to explore the magnitude and consequences of corruption, identify its causes (both at the micro level and in relation to the political regime) and propose possible remedies.

Plenary Session 1: Measurement and Consequences of Corruption
This plenary session defined and sized up corruption and explore its effects on economic development. The speakers answered such questions as: what is corruption? How is it measured? How did it evolve over time? What does it do to resource allocation, the use of scarce resources and distribution of income and wealth? Finally, what kind of behavior—including rent-seeking behavior—does it trigger in society? The presentations drew on accumulated evidence on corruption worldwide, including corruption in the region that ERF covers.

Plenary Session 2: Determinants of Corruption
In this session the speakers addressed such questions as: to what extent is corruption the product of the rules governing economic transactions, the effective enforcement of these rules and the incentives/penalties associated with them? Are democratic governments less vulnerable to corrupt behavior and what can be said about future corruption in the “Arab Spring” countries? Finally, is corruption necessarily synonymous with natural resource abundance? The answers to these questions drew on various analytical frameworks and empirical evidence, both globally and regionally.

Plenary Session 3: Fighting Corruption
Fighting corruption clearly depends on our understanding of what causes corruption and whether it is merely related to the rules governing economic transactions and their enforcement, or deeply rooted in the prevailing governance structure. To address the micro and macro roots of corruption, the speakers addressed such questions as: what can be done to reduce corruption by changing laws and enhancing their enforcement? How important is economic liberalization in fighting corruption, particularly in terms of removing restrictions on firm entry, operation and exit? Is corruption likely to diminish in Arab Spring countries or is the outcome likely to depend on the new political forces in power? The answers to these questions also capitalized on the experience of different countries and will draw the implications for the ERF region.

 Timetable and Deadlines
  • July 3, 2011: Deadline for submissions
  • August 17, 2011: Notification of selected proposals
  • December 1, 2011: Deadline for receiving written papers
  • January 20, 2012: Notification of acceptance of papers for presentation
  • March 24, 2012: Pre-conference activities
  • March 25, 2012: Conference begins
  • March 27, 2012: Conference ends
  • May 13, 2012: Revision of papers for publication in the ERF working paper series completed

Download Annual Conference Agenda

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