This podcast series features

in-depth interviews

with a wide range of corruption experts,

on questions such as:


What have we learned from 20+ years of (anti)corruption research? 

Why and how does power corrupt?

Which theories help to make sense of corruption?

What can we do to manage corruption?

How to recovery stolen assets?  


With a discussion around these and many other questions that fascinate us about corruption research we hope to reach and engage with a broad audience.


You can subscribe to the Podcast via Soundcloud, StitcherSpotify or Itunes



Feel free to get in touch with the show via:


Twitter: @KickBackGAP

Facebook: Facebook/KickBackGAP


KickBackGAP is a podcast project founded by...
- Nils Köbis
- Christopher Starke
- Matthew Stephenson

 Special thanks to Kayhan Golkar for composing our jingle "Points"

and Jonathan Kleinpass for his technical support.



KickBack - The Global Anticorruption Podcast

16. Kevin E. Davis on his book "Between Impunity & Imperialism" and fighting transnational bribery (Mon, 14 Oct 2019)
For this episode of Kickback we are delighted to welcome Kevin E. Davis, Beller Family Professor of Business Law at NYU. ( The interview covers Kevin’s new book Between Impunity and imperialism, the challenges of fighting and deterring transnational bribery and the return of stolen assets. The interview begins with a short overview on Kevin’s academic background and how he became interested in the law and economic development. Then the two discuss Kevin’s book which through its title expresses Kevin’s ambivalence about the efforts to fight transnational bribery. On the one hand there is wide consensus that impunity in form of letting corrupt actors go unpunished is condemnable, on the other hand, Kevin criticizes the legal imperialism reflected in some of the approaches adopted to fight transnational corruption. The two discuss alternatives to the current approaches, the risk of “derisking” and the state of empirical evidence on these subjects. One more narrow point focuses on whom to punish once transnational bribery has been detected. Should the contract be nullified? Should the company be punished or is a more individualized punishment the way to go? Here the discussion also zooms in on the potential sovereignty issues related to cross-border investigations. Finally, the two chime in on current debates on where the returned stolen assets should be directed to. Kevin’s new book Between Impunity and Imperialism The Regulation of Transnational Bribery is available here:
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15. Sergei Guriev on the value of governance, inclusion & the internet for anti-corruption efforts (Mon, 30 Sep 2019)
This episode we are excited to welcome Sergei Guriev (Twitter: @sguriev), the chief economist at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Academic work: The interview kicks off with a discussion of Sergei’s academic work in the early 2000’s. In it Sergei and Andrei Rachinsky studied the Role of oligarchs in Russian capitalism and showed that oligarchs owned around 40% of the Russian industry (see Guriev & Rachinsky, 2005). Since then his academic and policy work remained related to corruption issues. Transitions: The interview covers the question why some Post-Soviet countries have transitioned successfully into a market economy while others haven’t, touching on the importance of institutional quality, experience of democracy, critical free press and inclusion. Challenges to study corruption: The two also discuss the challenge to study corruption, both from a methodological standpoint but also from a political standpoint, when working in a multi-lateral international organizations that are funded by governments. Positive examples: Matthew and Sergei touch on several anti-corruption examples that give reason to hope, such as the public e-procurement system, Pro Zorro ( in Ukraine or the political transformation in Georgia in the early 2000’s. Bride between academia and policy: As part of Sergei’s job, he communicates corruption research to for policy makers, emphasizing in particular the need for more research on the nexus between populism and corruption. 3G Internet and Confidence in Government. Finally, the two discuss Sergei’s most recent work on the impact of 3G Internet access on attitudes and perceptions about corruption, illustrating on the one hand that internet access can indeed make citizens more critical of corrupt regimes, but on the other hand the dangers of internet censorship or rising populism. If you want to find out more about Sergei, you can check out his Wikipedia Article or follow him twitter (@SGuriev). References Guriev, S., & Rachinsky, A. (2005). The role of oligarchs in Russian capitalism. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 19(1), 131-150. Guriev, S., Melnikov, N., & Zhuravskaya, E. (2019) 3G internet and confidence in government. European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Working Paper No. 233,
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