Sunday, December 16

Diplomatic Immunity

From the Wikipedia article on Diplomatic Immunity:
A 2006 study by two economists found that there was a significant correlation between home country corruption (as measured by Transparency International) and unpaid parking fines"
Most countries or the diplomatic personnel in question pay their parking fines in New York City but some do not. Are you surprised, dear reader, to find out that the EPRDF Mission to the U.N. does not have a good record of paying parking tickets?

Transparency International's 2007 report rates Meles Inc. as one of the most corrupt governments on earth. The article referenced above begins thus: "Cultures of Corruption: Evidence from Diplomatic Parking Tickets" (PDF)
Corruption is believed to be a major factor impeding economic development, but the importance of legal enforcement versus cultural norms in controlling corruption is poorly understood.

To disentangle these two factors, we exploit a natural experiment, the stationing of thousands of diplomats from around the world in New York City. Diplomatic immunity means there was essentially zero legal enforcement of diplomatic parking violations, allowing us to examine the role of cultural norms alone.

This generates a revealed preference measure of corruption based on real-world behavior for government officials all acting in the same setting. We find tremendous persistence in corruption norms: diplomats from high corruption countries (based on existing survey-based indices) have significantly more parking violations.
The article finds that between 1997-2002, an average of about ten EPRDF diplomats at any given time accumulated an average of 59.7 tickets EACH for parking violations.

Of all the diplomatic missions at the U.N., the EPRDF mission was #14 on the list of offenders from a total of 146 diplomatic missions. That was worse than ... say Sudan but one better than Nigeria.

The article concludes
We find that this measure [parking tickets] is strongly correlated with existing measures of home country corruption. This finding suggests that cultural or social norms related to corruption are quite persistent: even when stationed thousands of miles away, diplomats behave in a manner highly reminiscent of officials in the home country. Norms related to corruption are apparently very deeply engrained.
No kidding ... this is just the tip of the iceberg regarding behavior in this diplomatic host country that is translated directly into things like espionage / illegal surveillance and intimidation of the Ethiopia diaspora.

Note that we don't refer to the 'Ethiopian Mission to the U.N.' The corporate representatives of Meles Inc. act as their boss acts back home and represent only him.

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