Ford Foundation Funds Wedel Project Developing Consultant's Code of Conduct
For more information contact email@example.com.
Thanks to an $180,000 grant from the Ford Foundation, Dr. Janine R. Wedel, an anthropologist and professor of public policy, will help develop a code of conduct and mechanisms for increased accountability for private economic consultants to governments around the world.
Wedel and the grant’s co-recipient, Dr. Lloyd “Jeff” Dumas, professor of economics and political economy at the University of Texas at Dallas, plan to address the growing problem of conflicts of interest and other potentially unethical practices among consultants. The aim of their initiative, entitled Building Accountability Into International Development Advising in an Age of Diffused Governance, is to reduce the number of incidents like those that occurred several years ago involving Harvard University experts who advised Russia on economic reform. In 2000, the U.S. Justice Department sued Harvard and the employees, claiming that they had used their positions, inside information and influence to advance their own personal business interests. That lawsuit is still in the courts.
Dumas and Wedel argue that the potential for problems with the independent adviser–government relationship is growing, creating many more opportunities for such advisers to play multiple, conflicting, or ambiguous roles that further their own—rather than developmental—goals. According to Wedel, the goal of this project is to stimulate discussion among international development organizations and specialists from developing countries to create a code of ethics and improve standards of monitoring and assuring accountability among consultants.
As part of their project, Dumas and Wedel plan to convene a workshop in Poland this fall, where representatives of international development organizations and specialists from countries undergoing economic transition will discuss economic advising.