Robert Klitgaard's Articles and Talks

"Gratitude."  Gratitude is good for us, and we can help ourselves become more grateful. Here's how. Nov. 2013.

"Public-Private Collaboration and Corruption."  Public-private-nonprofit partnerships will be increasingly important in addressing the world’s most difficult problems. But they embed risks of collusion and corruption. What can be done? Nov. 2012.

"The Quality of Government."  What is good government? How much does it matter, and why? And—a crucial practical issue for a world in need and upheaval—how can it be improved? Sept. 2012.

"Social Media: A New Tactic in the Fight against Corruption."  Around the world new applications of the social media augur progress against corruption. A key step will be moving from complaints to systems analysis to collective action. May 2012.

"Toward a Turning Point against Corruption."  The fight against corruption needs new approaches that address political cultures, informal systems, and the practicalities of implementation. Fortunately, success stories can instruct and inspire. April 2012.

"Toward Results-Based Government in Colombia."  Colombia has made impressive progress in public-sector reform. One interesting initiative is SINERGIA, touted as a successful innovation in evaluation. March 2012.

"Designing and Implementing a Technology-Driven Public-Private Partnership."  India’s remarkable universal identification project is a game-changing innovation in public policy and private finance. It is also an outstanding, and risky, example of collaboration between government at many levels, the private sector, and civil society. June 2011.

"Fighting Corruption."  An overview of lessons learned from efforts to combat corruption around the world. June 2011.

"Making a Country."  South Sudan is the world’s newest country. A few years ago, leaders convened to address the prospective challenges of good government. What did they conclude? January 2011.

"Economic Gangsters."  Poverty, violence, and corruption have connections that can be understood through economic analysis. Good data and good economics can lead to improvements. October 2010.

"Tackling Corruption in Haiti Is Possible."  Haiti is a graveyard for reforms. The great quake and the reconstruction effort offer an opportunity to tackle one of the country’s chronic problems, systemic corruption. March 2010.

"Addressing Corruption in Haiti."  Based on analysis of Haitian realities and the lessons of international experience, this paper provides practical guidance for tackling corruption in Haiti's reconstruction and development programs.  February 2010.

"Leadership and Universities." How does the president's job in higher education differ from business, government, or civil society? What is "inspirational leadership" and how important is it? What personal traits are important--and which ones are at risk? A talk to the Claremont Leadership Roundtable, a monthly meeting of about 25 professors from the Claremont Colleges. October 2008.

“Across the Disciplines, Out into the World.” This 2008 Convocation talk reviews our progress and the tasks ahead, with many video clips of CGU professors and examples of teaching and research that moves across the disciplines and out into the world. September 2008.

“Step Back or Step Up.” A new evaluation of the World Bank’s efforts to improve government notes that the impact has been small and also that the Bank doesn’t take on high-level corruption. What now? Should the Bank step back or step up? May 2008.

“Universities Have the Responsibility to Tackle the World’s Toughest Problems.” One of a university’s special callings is to take on the hardest issues, even those that seem intractable. This article, a version of which appeared in The Chronicle of Higher Education, describes how this might be done. February 2008.

“A Holistic Approach to the Fight against Corruption.” This talk was the President’s Invited Keynote Address at the Second Session of the Conference of State Parties to the United Nations Convention against Anti-Corruption. It discusses what corruption is and how systemic corruption can be reduced, if never eliminated. January 2008.

“Contested Summary Measures.” Constructs such as IQ and GDP—and, possibly, many others—can be overused or dismissed in a classic but unhelpful pattern. How might we begin thinking about and using contested summary measures? October 2007.

"How Do They Do That, They’re So Small?" Convocation Address 2007. This is an occasion for a kind of “state of the union” presentation, summarizing where we are and looking ahead to this year’s priorities. In a word, the state of Claremont Graduate University is excellent. September 2007.

“Three Reminders about Leadership.” Common descriptors of leaders, such as commander, designer, or even leader itself, should be questioned, at least regarding leadership at universities. May 2007.

“Global Action and Social Change.” Why research universities have to provide leadership on the world’s most difficult problems. Brief introduction to a student-led research conference. March 2007.

“Catholic Studies in a Secular University.” Why should a School of Religion at a secular university seek a Chair in Catholic Studies? With our unique mission of teaching students what it means to be inside and outside a community of faith, Catholic studies will add depth and resonance, and its exemplars teach us about experiencing God and serving mankind. Brief remarks to a presentation and panel discussion on “What Catholicism Will We Choose for the 21st Century?” and the symbolic launch of a campaign for a Chair in Catholic Studies. February 2007.

"Subverting Corruption." What can be done to fight corruption when the people in control are themselves corrupt? Author Posting. (c) Taylor & Francis, 2007. The definitive version was published in Global Crime, Volume 7 Issue 3, August 2006. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of Taylor & Francis for personal use, not for redistribution.

“From Here to There in the E-Health Revolution.” These brief introductory remarks at a conference note the slow adoption of health information technologies and ask how we might speed things forward. December 2006.

“A Pattern in an Infinite Regress.” As we think about what teachers do, and then what teaching teachers entails, we begin along what seems like an infinite regress of evidence and reflection, passion and inspiration. Brief introductory remarks to a meeting of Deans of Education. October 2006.

“More Like Us.” This 2006 Convocation address contextualizes the strategic planning now underway at Claremont Graduate University. It reviews important recent critiques of graduate education and shows how CGU has the seeds of the answers. CGU can provide leadership in graduate education and help solve some of our region’s and our world’s most important problems, by being “more like us.” October 2006.

“Social Advocacy and Universities.” Advocacy doesn’t naturally fit with academic culture. But social advocacy that is passionate, positive, practical, and concerned about proof can contribute much to university life. September 2006.

“The Ideals Gap.” Successful candidates this fall will appeal to our hearts through their ideals and to our heads by connecting their programs to ideals. September 2006.

“Invisible Evidence.” Might cultural analysis help us advance academic debates about what constitutes credible evidence? These brief remarks introduced the Stauffer Symposium for 2006. August 2006.

"What is the legacy of Peter Drucker?" How might we think about trying to extend that legacy now that he has passed? May 2006.

"Fear." How might research about fear help us, and our world, do a little bit better? These brief remarks introduced an arts and humanities conference on fear. April 2006.

“Neuroeconomics Welcoming Remarks.” These brief introductory remarks at a conference ask how neuroeconomics might help us understand heterogeneity among people and, through that, lead to better treatments and public policies. April 2006.

“Are Great Leaders Also Great Followers?” These brief introductory remarks for a conference on “followership” suggest that aspiring leaders should ask “Of what or whom am I a follower?” and “What does it mean to be a great follower?” February 2006.

"Thomas Schelling and Policy Analysis." Thomas C. Schelling shares the 2005 Nobel Prize in Economics. He has also taught valuable lessons about how to do policy analysis.

"Convocation Address 2005." The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina reminds us of what's important, including what we do well. September 2005.

“Interview.” The University’s magazine The Flame interviews the new CGU President and his wife (Fall 2005).

“Choosing and Using Performance Criteria: The Case of Foreign Aid." In many areas of public and private life, we need to choose and correctly use measures of performance. How should this be done? What factors need to be taken into account? 2005.

"The Quantitative-Qualitative Divide." In academia, an almost cultural barrier exists between researchers who favor quantitative methods and those who spurn them. How might this barrier be bridged to the benefit of both sides? 2005.

"Getting Insights from Experts." How can we learn best from experts? A somewhat frivolous example from interior design suggests some general lessons. 2005.

"The Elephant Is Peace and Freedom." (Part I) (Part II) (Part III) What is southern Sudan like? How might a new government be formed virtually from scratch? This long document, with photos, is a personal portrait based on a trip in April-May 2004. A text-only version, without the PowerPoint presentations, is available here.  In addition, a book version with photos, maps, and the PowerPoint presentations is available via  You can see a preview here:


"How to Use Partnerships: An Imaginary Conversation." Increasingly, projects and programs are carried out through partnerships involving government, business, and civil society. How should prospective participants decide whether and how to enter such partnerships? December 2004.

"Deciding What to Become." If you’re trying to figure out what to do with your life, maybe the best advice is to experiment. Commencement address, April 2000.

"Taking Culture Into Account: From 'Let's' to 'How'." From time to time people request this so-called “classic” about cultural diversity and development in Africa. It addresses an apparent failure of the human sciences. For at least a century scholars and activists have asserted that cultural diversity matters for practical choices. And yet we lack well-developed theories, useful guidelines, and close professional links between those who study culture and those who make and manage public policy. Why? This essay offers some explanations-and calls for a renaissance of applied cultural studies. April 1992.

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