Archive for 2011

Conflicts of Interest in the News: 123011 Edition

This is not all the COI news that’s fit to print, but hopefully some items of interest that you might not otherwise see – with notes on why I think they’re noteworthy. COIs and Government NY State “Attorney  General Eric Schneiderman has asked the state’s 932 towns to show his […]

Coming to the Conflict of Interest Blog in Early 2012

Thanks to all who have visited the blog since we opened our doors just a few weeks ago, and we appreciate hearing from so many of you. Here are some of the topics we’ll address in January and February. – Assessing COI risks (a five-part series) – Serving on another […]

Conflicts of Interest – What Lies Ahead?

The end of the year is as a good time as any to reflect on the past and to speculate about the future – even for COIs. One of the most important books published  in the past year is Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature, which shows how the incidence of violence has […]

Conflict of Interest Certifications – Part Two: Content

In a recent post we discussed the “why” and “who” of COI certifications.  Below, we examine what is typically covered by a COI certification. First, the basics tend to be questions around the following issues: – Employment (of oneself or family members) with or consulting for an entity doing or […]

Weekend News Round-Up: How Conflicts of Interest Can Hurt

Probably the two most prominent COI stories recently in the news concern insider trading by members of Congress and  David Stern’s running both the NBA and one of its teams. But the most instructive piece about COIs that I’ve seen in the past few days concerns a woman with MS learning […]

Conflict of Interest Certifications

There’s one way to find out if a man is honest – ask him.  If he says, “Yes,” you know he is a crook.  Groucho Marx There is, of course, something to this bit of Marxist logic. But, on balance, the benefits of “asking” in a C&E program can be considerable, […]

Moral Hazard – Part Two: Risk Assessment and Incentives

The immediately preceding post introduced the concept of “moral hazard” to the blog.  In today’s post and others to follow we examine how C&E programs can address moral-hazard C&E-related risks. The principal way to deal with such risks is, of course, through attention to compensation approaches. There are, in turn, two dimensions […]

Moral Hazard, Conflicts of Interest and Compliance Programs

The concept of moral hazard was used originally to refer to the phenomenon that providing insurance tended to promote risky behavior by insured parties.  Subsequently, the idea has been applied more generally to mean the provision of incentives that encourage unduly risky conduct by shifting the impact of a bad decision to […]

Why Do Conflicts Matter? Lessons from the Classroom

How much does it matter that organizations, individuals and governments pay close attention to identifying and mitigating conflicts of interest?  One way to answer this question is to consider – as I ask students in my business school ethics class to do – what the world would look like without […]

Training Managers on Conflicts of Interest

While COI risks can exist at any level of an organization, as a general matter the risks increase (often sharply) as one proceeds up the org chart.  Most obviously, this is because a) senior managers tend to have greater opportunities for COI-fraught relationships and activities than do other employees; and […]