Fifteenth Luca d’Agliano Lecture in Development Economics

Fifteenth Luca d’Agliano Lecture in Development Economics: Culture, Corruption, and the Law: Challenges for a Globalizing World” by Kaushik Basu (Professor of Economics and Carl Marks Professor of International Studies, Cornell University; Former Chief Economist and Senior Vice President, The World Bank), 23 November 2017, 5 p.m., Fondazione Collegio Carlo Alberto, Piazza Arbarello 8, 10122 Turin.


The control of corruption has been a big challenge for especially (though not only) developing countries around the world. Despite numerous legal and economic-policy interventions corruption has remained remarkably persistent, hurting the poor, exacerbating inequality to levels rarely witnessed before, and fanning political conflict. Our failure to take on this problem points to flaws in the economist’s and the legal scholar’s understanding of the relationship between law, social norms and the economy.

Using the control of corruption as a touchstone, this lecture will explore the complex relationship between law, culture and economic performance. The importance of this interrelationship is likely to grow as our world globalizes and people migrate and move, carrying with them their different social and cultural backgrounds. The lecture will argue that there are some deep flaws in our understanding of the connection between law and economics. It will then bring the experience of India, China and other nations from around the world of attempts to control corruption, with some success and a lot of failure, to shed light on this.

As our economies become more international, these challenges of conflicting cultural mores and legal systems are likely to grow since there will be matters that lie outside the jurisdiction of any particular nation and so will have to be resolved at a global level, where political and legal institutions are weak. By revising the ways in which we conceptualize the economy and, in particular, law and economics, we can gain some deep insights. The lecture will try to shed some light on this pressing problem of our time.

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