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UW Professor: Efforts Underway to Combat Corruption in Romania

May 26, 2015
woman standing by banner-style sign in large lobby
Linda Kidwell, associate professor in the UW Department of Accounting and Fulbright Scholar in Romania, participated in a recent business integrity conference in her host country.

A University of Wyoming professor says that efforts are being made to fight rampant corruption in Romania, a country that has a history of corruption and bribery in public procurement.

Linda Kidwell, an associate professor in the UW Department of Accounting, received a Fulbright Scholarship to study and teach this spring in Romania’s Bucharest University of Economic Studies.

As part of her Fulbright Scholarship experience, she participated in a conference, roughly translated as “Business Integrity in Romania: Challenges, Good Practices and Perspective.” The conference was held to inform the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on the progress Romania is making toward good corporate governance and transparency.

Conference participants discussed the efforts being made to combat, both through new preventative means and through aggressive prosecution of past deeds, the rampant corruption in the public sector, Kidwell says.

The corruption, estimated to be as high as one-third of the total cost of government, has resulted in Romania only being able to absorb less than 55 percent of the European Union funds promised to develop infrastructure and improve education and health care facilities, she says.

“As Romania borders with Ukraine, it has become keenly aware of the price paid for corrupt political leaders,” Kidwell says. “Therefore, in part as a defense against Russian aggression and as an effort to gain favor and protection from other EU members and the U.S., Romania is placing a very high priority on rooting out this problem.”

“It is an exciting time to be studying corporate governance in Romania,” she adds.

Romania is one of 25 countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia that the OECD is studying in regards to business integrity issues. The results of the study will be released this fall.

The OECD promotes policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world. For more than 50 years, the organization has helped to develop global standards, agreements and recommendations in areas such as governance and the fight against bribery and corruption, corporate responsibility, taxes and the environment.

This spring, Kidwell lectured on corporate governance, ethics and auditing issues in accounting and management information systems. Additionally, she studied ethical awareness and the development of governance structures in Romania’s emerging economy. Her four-month assignment ends in June.

The Fulbright Scholar Program, America’s flagship academic exchange effort, is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The core Fulbright Scholar Program provides approximately 800 teaching and/or research grants each year to U.S. faculty and experienced professionals.

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