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Economics

The World Bank's New Weapon Against Bribery: Shame

World Bank Group Building, Washington, D.C.
World Bank Group Building, Washington, D.C.Photograph by Raymond Boyd/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

The World Bank lends around $72 billion each year to some of the world’s poorest countries. A lot of it ends up getting stolen by corrupt officials, greedy contractors, and organized crime networks. The bank estimates that $20 billion to $40 billion is squandered each year by developing countries.

Now it’s trying to do something about it. For the first time, the World Bank is publishing the deliberations of its internal body that decides whether to stop doing business with companies it says engage in corruption. Since 1999, the bank’s Sanctions Board has punished, and at times banished, more than 530 firms and individuals. Until now, the bank has kept the reasons why they were kicked out under wraps.