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The political economy of management consulting firms in emerging economies: Evidence from illicit financial networks in Brazil and South Africa

Project description

Understanding the transformations of corruption and its political economy

The estimated amount of money laundered globally in one year is 2-5 % of the global GDP. Corruption and money laundering cases have been showed to involve different kinds of enablers, such as legal and fiscal professionals. The EU-funded MANAGECOR project will examine the role of these new actors in the financialization of corruption in emerging economies and the associated illicit financial flows. The project will focus on specific cases in Brazil and South Africa and comparison with Angola. MANAGECOR will develop a new theorisation of corruption, bridge gaps in the literature regarding practices these actors introduce into emerging countries, and reveal how external reform agendas contributed to the corruption of existing political economies.


Over the last 10 years, cases of corruption and money laundering involving management consulting firms multiplied in the global South. They cast doubts on these firms’ claims to help establish transparent competitive economies and to deliver solid accounting services. MANAGECOR is a political science project which examines the role of these firms in the financialisation of emerging economies and their subsequent enabling of illicit financial flows. It looks at two cases (Petrobras and Odebrecht in Brasil, State capture case in South Africa) on which exceptional sets of data are publicly available but have not been used yet. The data are composed of political and judicial investigations which include leaks of internal documents with details of operations and services provided. They will be processed through an original interdisciplinary method and thanks to the trainings received by the researcher. The project aims at making 3 contributions: 1) Along with a group of leading researchers it will be associated with, it will develop a new theorization of corruption. It will show that corruption results of processes and networks of actors at the core of the global economy. These results may help to improve anti corruption policies. 2) The project uses a close collaboration with the supervisor and a joint discussion of the results to bridge gaps in the literature as regard to the accounting, fiscal and legal practices that consulting firms imported into emerging countries. It will examine how consulting firms act as brokers, how they manage their reputation and mitigate risks. 3) MANAGECOR contributes to rewriting the political economies of Brazil and South Africa to show how external reform agendas affected existing political economies of corruption. This will be done with the writing of a monograph and by engaging with local academics’ works. The results will be disseminated to a global public interested in understanding the perpetuation of structural inequalities.


Net EU contribution
€ 224 933,76
OX1 2JD Oxford
United Kingdom

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South East (England) Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Oxfordshire
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 224 933,76