Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law


Julie B. Nesbit

First Page



Anti-corruption movements around the world have set the stage for a comprehensive attack on transnational bribery. The Organization of American States adopted the first convention to criminalize transnational bribery in 1996, and efforts by the OECD to address the issue culminated in the Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions, which was signed by the representative Ministers in November 1997, and is expected to enter into force by 1999. While these developments are promising, they offer only a partial solution to a complex problem. Transnational bribery will persist until a comprehensive anti-corruption strategy, based on an understanding of the underlying causes of corruption, is implemented.

Part II of this Note will examine the prevalence of transnational bribery in the context of international trade. It then will discuss the negative impact of transnational bribery on national economies, political structures, and international trade. Part III will examine the debilitating impact of transnational bribery on developing countries. The threat to future economic growth, and the potential to create a backlash against democracy are highlighted. Part IV will provide an overview of recent efforts to control and proscribe transnational bribery. Specifically, the approaches of international organizations, multilateral development banks, and regional organizations are described and evaluated. In Part V, the causes endemic to corruption are reviewed, and effective approaches to controlling transnational bribery are proposed.