Seminar: Daniel Kaufmann "State Capture & the Challenge of Governance around the World"

28 Sep 2018 - 12:15

DPRU Director, Prof Haroon Bhorat were pleased to host Dr Daniel Kaufmann for a lecture on State Capture on Friday 21 September, as part of the UCT School of Economics seminar series.

Dr Kaufmann (President and CEO of the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI)) was in Cape Town following his testimony at the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture in Joburg a few days prior. His lecture also fortuitously coincided with the day that the latest Worldwide Governance Indicators (that he co-authors) were released.


Dr Daniel Kaufmann is President and CEO of the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI). Following his testimony on 19 September at the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture, and coinciding with the release of the annual Worldwide Governance Indicators which he co-authors, Kaufmann presented a (download slide deck here) on the changing nature of corruption around the world, based on data and experience. In discussing the implications for reform, he emphasizes one of the most important forms of ‘grand corruption’ nowadays; namely the challenge of State Capture. Kaufmann (with Joel Hellman) developed and measured this notion two decades ago, studying the phenomenon in depth – firstly in former socialist countries in transition, and subsequently in other regions of the world, including Latin America.

In recent times, South Africa has fully embraced this approach, both in their inquiry of high-level corruption under the previous leadership, and now in figuring out what can be done to address it. Kaufmann does not present himself as an expert on South Africa – instead, he places this challenge within a broader framework of governance and institutional reforms. He shares relevant comparative evidence and insights from his work on State Capture and governance worldwide, also discussing implications from particular country cases such as Brazil, Peru and the US. He also addresses sectoral dimensions, particularly for natural resources.

In parallel, the newest set of updated Worldwide Governance Indicators (WGI) was issued on Friday 21 September. For over twenty years, Kaufmann and co-author Aart Kraay have been assessing the state of governance around the world, annually issuing the set of six indicators. Kaufmann briefly showcases salient results from the new release, comparing some countries and regions.

Presentation slide deck