Daniel Kaufmann (economist)

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Daniel Kaufmann is the president emeritus of the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI), which resulted from the merger of the Revenue Watch Institute[1] – Natural Resource Charter.[2] He is also a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, where he was previously a senior fellow,[3] and until July 2019 served in the international board of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative[4] and in a number of advisory boards on governance, anti-corruption and natural resources and has also been in high-level expert commissions such as at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development,[5][6] the Inter-American Development Bank[7][8] and the Mo Ibrahim Foundation.[9] Prior to that, he was a director at the World Bank Institute, leading work on governance and anti-corruption.[10] He was also a senior manager and lead economist at the World Bank, writing and working on many countries around the world, and was a visiting scholar at Harvard University. He has also served in other boards and councils in the past, including at the World Economic Forum.[11]

Early life[edit]

Kaufmann was born and grew up in Santiago, Chile, the son of Jewish immigrants that escaped Germany in 1939. He later received a B.A. in economics and statistics at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and subsequently an M.A. and Ph.D. in economics at Harvard.[2]


At the World Bank, he held positions working on programs in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, Africa and Latin America, as well as conducting applied research around the globe.[10] First as a senior economist and then as a lead economist, he specialized on trade, industry, private sector, regulation, macroeconomics, governance and anti-corruption. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, he became the first chief of mission of the World Bank to Ukraine, where he led the bank's program of support for economic reforms, as well as developing survey techniques to measure corruption and the unofficial economy.[12][13] Thereafter, as a Director of the World Bank Institute, he initiated and led the program on global governance and anti-corruption. He also served as lead economist in the research department and was later a manager of the finance, regulation and governance unit.[10] He co-authored a number of publications and books, such as the World Development Report,[14] and “The Quality of Growth”,[15] the "Investment Climate around the World"[16] and the "Governance Matters" series.[17]

He was also a visiting scholar at Harvard. Since 2009, Kaufmann has been affiliated with the Brookings Institution, first as a senior fellow,[3] leading the work on governance and anti-corruption, and since late 2012, as a non-resident senior fellow. Between 2012 and 2020, he was the President and CEO of the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI), an independent global policy institute focused on research and evidence-driven policy advice and advocacy, with operations in over a dozen countries.[18] He became President Emeritus at NRGI on July 31, 2020.

Kaufmann is a researcher, policy advisor to leaders of states, multilateral organizations, industry and nongovernmental organizations. He is also a frequent keynote speaker on governance and development.[19][20] With his teams, he has developed approaches to construct indicators for country governance (e.g., the Worldwide Governance Indicators and the Natural Resource Governance Institute's Resource Governance Index) and designed diagnostic tools and survey methodologies for good governance and anti-corruption programs.

He has also provided practical advice to countries based on his research on economic development, governance, the unofficial economy, macroeconomics, investment, corruption, privatization, and urban and labor economics. His writings with co-authors are among the most downloaded in the Social Science Research Network.[21][22]

Professional contribution[edit]

Governance and Corruption[edit]

While at the World Bank during the 1990s, Kaufmann and his colleague Aart Kraay developed the Worldwide Governance Indicators (WGI). The Worldwide Governance Indicators measure six dimensions of governance: Voice and Accountability, Political Stability and Absence of Violence, Government Effectiveness, Regulatory Quality, Rule of Law and Control of Corruption. The WGI project covers more than 200 countries since 1996, and is updated on a yearly basis. The methodology used for the indicators’ construction can be found in The Worldwide Governance Indicators: Methodology and Analytical Issues.[23] The WGI indicators are used by multiple organizations, countries, risk rating agencies and industry bodies.[24] In addition to its methodological approach, country coverage and the ability to monitor governance performance of countries for over two decades, the WGI was also the first such indicator that addressed quantitatively the measurement of its own margins of error (confidence intervals), initiating a trend in the field.[25]

With colleagues at the World Bank, he also led the development and implementation of in-depth, in-country governance and anti-corruption diagnostic tools,[26] which were carried out in dozens of countries as inputs to governance reform programs.

State Capture and Legal Corruption[edit]

Kaufmann, with colleagues, also developed new approaches to measure governance and corruption, focused first on the post-socialist countries in transition,[27] and, with Joel Hellman, launched a project on what they labelled as the challenge of state capture, which analyzed the transition economies of the former Soviet Union during the late 1990s (in articles such as "Seize the state, seize the day: State capture, corruption, and influence in transition"). The notion of state capture has since become more widely applied, and recently they have provided expert testimony on the topic to the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture of South Africa.[28]

Related to some aspects of state capture, which are not always strictly illegal, Kaufmann had written about the notion of “legal corruption.” With his co-author, Pedro Vicente, he analyzed how laws can be shaped so to legalize certain acts, which a broad consensus might consider as unethical or corrupt.[29]

Good Governance and Anti-corruption Programs[edit]

Kaufmann continued working and advising on governance, corruption and state capture matters at the global, regional and national level, including focusing in resource-rich countries and on the natural resource sector in recent years. He has also researched the relevance of civil liberties to address corruption and improve development prospects, as well as the links between human rights and corruption control.[30] He has also recently been an expert member of high level advisory panels for multilateral organizations, such as the Inter-American Development Bank, co-authoring the November 2018 Report of the Expert Advisory Group on Anti-Corruption, Transparency, and Integrity in Latin America and the Caribbean,[31] (selected by Foreign Affairs as one of the top books of 2019)[32] as well as a co-author of a report to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development as a member of the High-Level Advisory Group on Anti-Corruption and Integrity to that organization.[5][6]

Natural Resource Governance[edit]

The Natural Resource Governance Institute, which Kaufmann leads, released the Resource Governance Index in 2017. The index focuses on transparency and accountability in resource-rich countries and provided evidence on the substantial governance and implementation deficits in most countries surveyed, while also identifying successes, including in emerging economies.[33] Other recent publications on governance and natural resources have appeared at Brookings Institution[34][35] as well as opinion pieces in the Financial Times.[36][37][38] His work is widely referenced in academic circles[22] and in the international media.[39][40][41]

Selected publications[edit]

Kaufmann has contributed to the fields of governance, corruption and development for over 30 years, including among others the following publications:

Global indicators[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Daniel Kaufmann to Become President of Revenue Watch". Transparency Accountability Initiative. Archived from the original on 18 December 2018. Retrieved 15 December 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Daniel Kaufmann". Natural Resource Governance Institute. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Daniel Kaufmann". Brookings Institution. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  4. ^ "The EITI Board". Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  5. ^ a b "OECD Secretary-General's High- Level Advisory Group on Anti-Corruption and Integrity: Who's who" (PDF). Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Retrieved 15 December 2018.
  6. ^ a b "High-Level Advisory Group on Anti-Corruption and Integrity". Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Retrieved 15 May 2018.
  7. ^ "How could we end corruption". Inter-American Development Bank. Retrieved 15 December 2018.
  8. ^ "Policy Dialogue – Democratic Governance Against Corruption". The Dialogue: Leadership for America. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  9. ^ "Advisory Council". Mo Ibrahim Foundation. Retrieved 15 December 2018.
  10. ^ a b c "Featured Speaker: Daniel Kaufmann". World Bank. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  11. ^ "Getting to Zero: Finishing the Job the MDGs Started" (PDF). World Economic Forum. Retrieved 15 December 2018.
  12. ^ S. Johnson; Kaufmann, D.; et al. "Why do firms hide? Bribes and unofficial activity after communism" (PDF). Journal of Public Economics. Retrieved 15 December 2018.
  13. ^ Kaufmann D.; et al. "Integrating the unofficial economy into the dynamics of post-socialist economies: a framework of analysis and evidence". World Bank. Retrieved 15 December 2018.
  14. ^ World Development Report 1991: The Challenge of Development. World Bank. 1991. doi:10.1596/978-0-1952-0868-9. ISBN 978-0-19-520868-9.
  15. ^ V. Thomas; Dailimi, M.; Dhareshwar, A.; Kaufmann, D.; et al. The quality of growth. World Bank. Retrieved 15 December 2018.
  16. ^ G. Batra; Kaufmann, D.; et al. Investment climate around the world: voices of the firms from the world business environment survey (WBES). World Bank. Retrieved 15 December 2018.
  17. ^ The "Governance Matters" series is available at “Daniel Kaufmann” Social Science Research Network. Retrieved December 2018.
  18. ^ "What we do". Natural Resource Governance Institute. Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  19. ^ "Lecture on Corruption and State Capture and the Good Governance Forum". Natural Resource Governance Institute. Retrieved 15 December 2018.
  20. ^ "Daniel Kaufmann Lecture: 'State Capture and the Challenge of Governance around the World'". Natural Resource Governance Institute. Retrieved 15 December 2018.
  21. ^ "SSRN Top 8,000 Economics Authors". Social Science Research Network. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  22. ^ a b "Daniel Kaufmann". Social Science Research Network. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  23. ^ "Worldwide Governance Indicators". World Bank. Retrieved 15 December 2018.
  24. ^ "Measuring the ups and downs of governance". Brookings Institution. Retrieved 15 December 2018.
  25. ^ See “Seven: Tentative Tenets on Governance Indicators” and its related presentation. In its widespread use, the WGI has also not been devoid of critiques by some scholars, which the WGI authors have codified and provided feedback and response (here). Retrieved December 2018.
  26. ^ See, for instance, pages 27-38 of “Debunking Myths on Worldwide Archived 2016-03-31 at the Wayback Machine”. World Bank. Retrieved December 2018. Also, see "Governance and Corruption: The Challenge of Empirics and Implications Archived 2016-03-31 at the Wayback Machine”. World Bank. Retrieved December 2018.
  27. ^ J. Hellman; Jones, G.; Kaufmann, D.; et al. (2000). Measuring Governance, Corruption, and State Capture: How Firms and Bureaucrats Shape the Business Environment in Transition Economies. World Bank. Retrieved 15 December 2018.
  28. ^ Daniel Kaufmann Testifies in Person at the South Africa State Capture Commission of Inquiry“. Natural Resource Governance Institute. Retrieved December 2018. Their full oral testimony is available here and here.
  29. ^ P. Vicente & Kaufmann D. "Legal Corruption" (PDF). World Bank. Second draft. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 May 2015. Retrieved 15 July 2018.
  30. ^ J. Isham; Pritchett, L.; Kaufmann D. (1997). "Civil Liberties, Democracy, and the Performance of Government Projects". The World Bank Economic Review. 11 (2): 219–242. doi:10.1093/wber/11.2.219.
  31. ^ "State Capture". Natural Resource Governance Institute. 5 October 2018. Retrieved 15 December 2018.
  32. ^ "The Best of Books 2019". Foreign Affairs Magazine. Retrieved 7 January 2020.
  33. ^ Evidence-based reflections on natural resource governance and corruption in Africa. In E. Zedillo, O. Cattaneo, & H. Wheeler (Eds.), Africa at a fork in the road: taking off or disappointment once again?. Yale Center for the Study of Globalization. Retrieved 15 December 2018.
  34. ^ "What makes an accountable state-owned enterprise?". Brookings Institution. Retrieved 15 December 2018.
  35. ^ "Leveraging Transparency to Reduce Corruption". Brookings Institution. Retrieved 31 July 2020. Also see related publication.
  36. ^ "US vacuum in global governance opens space for others". Financial Times. Retrieved 15 December 2018.
  37. ^ "Trump should think again on mining transparency law". Financial Times. Retrieved 15 December 2018.
  38. ^ "US credibility suffers in exit from extractives transparency pact". Financial Times. Retrieved 15 December 2018.
  39. ^ "How Trump Is Quietly Dismantling the Architecture of Global Governance". The New Yorker. Retrieved 15 December 2018.
  40. ^ "Few resource-rich countries properly manage their natural resources: report". Thomson Reuters Foundation. Retrieved 15 December 2018.
  41. ^ "Governance Matters: Civil Society Voice and Performance at the World Cup". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 15 December 2018.