Centre for Ethics and Law


Corruption and the Ethical Corporation

01 December 2016, 6:00 pm–7:15 pm

Event Information

Open to



Centre for Ethics & Law and the Institute of Business Ethics


UCL Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre, Wilkins Building, London WC1E 6BT


Professor Susan Rose-Ackerman (Yale University)

About the talk

Multinational corporations face pressures to pay bribes to get procurement contracts, obtain lucrative concessions, and benefit from favorable tax and regulatory rulings. If a firm calculates that, on-balance, payoffs will maximize profits, do managers have a moral obligation to resist payoffs, or, conversely, do their obligations to shareholders require such payments? When does legal lobbying and influence-seeking cross over into unethical corruption?

Firms may be in a “prisoners’ dilemma” where corrupt behavior is rational for each firm taken separately, but leads to overall worse outcomes than honesty.  Given this collective action problem, how can domestic laws as well as international treaties and industry codes of conduct help MNCs move toward honest coordinated outcomes that do not violate anti-trust laws?

About the speaker

Susan Rose-Ackerman is the Henry R. Luce Professor of Jurisprudence (Law and Political Science), Yale University. Her research and teaching interests are the comparative study of administrative law and public policy making, and the political economy of corruption.

Her recent books are Corruption and Government: Causes, Consequences and Reform, second edition with Bonnie Palifka, 2016 (first edition published in 1999 was translated into 17 languages); Due Process of Lawmaking: The United States, South Africa, Germany and the European Union (with Stefanie Egidy and James Fowkes, 2015); Greed, Corruption, and the Modern State (editor with Paul Lagunes, 2015); Comparative Administrative Law (editor with Peter Lindseth, 2010; second edition with Peter Lindseth and Blake Emerson, forthcoming 2017), International Handbook on the Economics of Corruption (vol. I, editor, 2006; vol. II, editor with Tina Søreide, 2011). She directs the program in Comparative Administrative Law at Yale Law School, and she holds a B.A. from Wellesley College and a Ph.D. from Yale University.