This paper outlines the IMF’s perspective on the economic impact of corrup-tion and experience in helping countries design and implement strategies to address it. Corruption has a broader cor¬rosive impact on society. It undermines trust in government and erodes the ethical standards of private citizens. A holistic, multi-faceted approach is needed—one that establishes appropriate incentives and the rule of law, promotes transparency, and introduces economic reforms that reduce opportunities for illicit behavior. Perhaps the most import¬ant ingredient for a successful anticorruption approach is the development of strong institu¬tions, centered on a professional civil service that is sufficiently independent from both private influence and political interference. Corruption afflicts countries at all stages of development. Indeed, some developing coun¬tries score better on corruption indices than many advanced countries. Corruption has a pernicious effect on the economy. Pervasive corruption makes it harder to conduct sound fiscal policy. Corruption also undermines certain types of public expenditure to the detriment of economic performance.
Traditionally, public officials have been somewhat nervous about discussing corruption openly. Over the past several years, however, I have been struck by the extent to which world leaders are now willing to talk candidly about this problem. It is not just that the economic costs have become self-evident. It is also because there is an increasing demand for change. In a recent global survey, corruption was regarded as the “topic most frequently discussed by the public,” ahead of poverty and unemployment (survey cited by Klitgaard 2015, p. 15). Given that both poverty and unemployment can be symptoms of chronic corruption, my view is that the priority given to this problem by the public is entirely justified.
International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde delivered this address at the Library of Congress as part of the Library’s Henry A. Kissinger Lecture Series in Washington, D.C. on December 4, 2018.
It is an honor to be with all of you tonight. Although he cannot be here this evening, I know we are all profoundly grateful to Dr. Kissinger for launching this important lecture series nearly 20 years ago.
It is great to be here today among friends and kindred spirits. The National Democratic Institute is a passionate advocate for the full participation of women in the life of nations. I admire you…I salute you…I am with you.
International Monetary Fund. Communications Department
This paper discusses the role of fiscal policy and demographics. By the end of this century, about two-thirds of all countries are expected to have declining populations. This will have profound implications for economics, financial markets, social stability, and geopolitics. Fiscal policy responses and technological innovation are especially important parts of the solution. Without action, public pension and health systems will not be sustainable over the long term. The increase in life expectancy and economic welfare that came with the industrial revolution brought with it the seeds of demographic change. This is a demographic double whammy that will have major implications for economic growth, financial stability, and the public purse. With declining fertility rates, populations in some advanced economies did not just grow more slowly; they stagnated or began to shrink. IMF analysis suggests that, if everyone lived three years longer than expected, pension related costs could increase by 50 percent in both advanced and emerging economies. This would heavily affect private and public sector balance sheets and could also undermine financial stability.
Good evening. It is a great honor to be invited to deliver this year’s Dimbleby Lecture, and I would like to thank the BBC and the Dimbleby family for so kindly inviting me—and especially David Dimbleby for his warm words of introduction.