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Good Governance Talks

Through the Good Governance Talks, the Bedrosian Center explores issues relating to effective governance. This is a great opportunity for students and faculty to meet and engage with researchers and encourage active participation between speakers and audience in order to foster discussion and an exchange of ideas.


Matthew Zarit:  Lost in Translation: How Bureaucratic Hierarchies & Policy Networks Limit Presidential Control

As the power of the presidency has grown, most research has suggested that presidents maintain strong control over federal agencies. Yet, this conclusion fails to consider the impact of the sprawling hierarchy on controlling bureaucracy. Matt Zarit uses federal contract awards to show how organizational hierarchy limits presidential power over the distribution of federal spending.

Matt Zarit is a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at the University of Pittsburgh.  He previously worked a manager of employee evaluation for the Pittsburgh public schools.  As a contractor, Matt worked with government clients at the state and federal level.  He holds a Masters of Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University.  His dissertation focuses on how organizational hierarchy influences decision making in the federal buraucracy.  His research interests include government contracting, leadership in bureaucracies, organizational theory, presidential power, and agency legitimacy.



Jeff Nugent:  Perceptions of Corruption and Actual Corruption among Firms: To What Extent Can They be Reduced by Good Governance?

Jeff Nugent, USC professor of Economics at Dornsife College of Letters and Arts, teaches Development Economics.  Nugent researches institutions and development, the political economy of growth, small- and medium-sized manufacturing enterprises, contractual choice, old age security and fertility and regional (supranational) coordination of industrial development in developing countries.


Given the difficulties of measuring actual corruption, much attention in the literature has been devoted to perceptions of corruption. So too, in examining the determinants and effects of corruption, much attention has been given to the existence of various different kinds of regulations and the quality of governance. This paper attempts to distinguish between the effects of the various factors potentially affecting both perceptions of corruption and actual corruption reported by individual firms including different governance characteristics, regulations (various required permits) as well as firm and industry characteristics. Firm-level data for over 110,000 firms from 135 developing and transition countries taken from the Enterprise Surveys of the World Bank are used to estimate the various determinants of both perceptions of corruption and actual engagement in corruption (“gift-giving”) by firms. The results show both important similarities in, and differences between, the effects on firm perceptions of corruuption, on the one hand, and actual corruption, on the other, of (a) six different Governance Indicators, (b) various different firm characteristics and especially (c) interactions between the two.  Implications for policy and further research are derived.


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