Remarks on Private-to-private corruption

Working Paper, NUPI

The OECD’s Anti-Bribery Convention may be regarded as the strongest international expression of the recent recognition of corruption as a major global issue. The convention aims to contain trans-border corruption by making it illegal for citizens and enterprises located in the countries that have signed the convention to get involved in corrupt transactions with officials abroad. Working out the convention the legal regulation of transborder corruption has become harmonised across countries. Given the initial success, the question has been raised whether the convention should be extended or modified in some way. New policy instruments have been proposed; greater precision in how to deal with middlemen has been urged. In this note I will only deal with issues related to the question of whether the scope of the convention should be increased to deal with private-to-private corruption, that is, should it be forbidden to bribe private officials abroad and should the laws that pertain to the matter be harmonised across countries and made compatible with the internal laws that regulate the matters in each country? In the following I will not go into the legal questions, however, and mainly deal with rather general economic issues.