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07/23/2015

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Thanks for your pieces on these international dimensions. There is so much to learn from practices elsewhere. It is refreshing to read confirmations that interesting, creative, innovative, and/or worth-studying/adopting practices can and do come from diverse places.

At the time of writing, it is required by law that high--level government officials in a West African country I know should declare their assets upon coming into office. Unfortunately, hardly any of these officials do, even though they make repeatedly assure pre-appointment vetting committees that they would . It is therefore not uncommon for many to vigorously seek high--level government appointments because they have become known means of making lots of money (ostensibly not from their official pay). The pattern of flagrant non-disclosure of assets vis-a-vis pay rates for high--level public officials is echoed in several other countries.

Some cultures and countries tend to have relatively high-levels of secrecy relative to pay and wealth. In some countries, the biggest companies (often family-owned) are not systematically required to disclose their financials. Employees in such environments also tend to operate in the hush-hush mode. It is not uncommon to find privately-held companies in such environments attempting and succeeding to obtain market survey data from providers without furnishing their own. Some ‘world- class’ survey providers trying to get a footing in such markets are forced to modify requirements and practices in more established markets.

Thanks once again.

Thank you for your comment. I agree there is much we can learn by studying other countries' practices.

I am curious, do we know what the impact has been of the full disclosure in the Scandinavian countries? How long has it been done?

Tax transparency has been in existence in Sweden since 1903.

Norway has made tax data public since 1863.

Good link to read on Sweden:
https://sweden.se/society/why-swedes-are-okay-with-paying-taxes/

Swedes have a high degree of trust in their government and in companies. There is much emphasis placed on equal pay for equal work ---- therefore relatively few pay gaps. When there are less gaps in pay, and high level of trust it seems to lead to greater acceptance of differences in pay and less incidents of gross inequality.

Scandinavian countries also believe that by making pay transparent it cuts down on graft and corruption on the part of high level politicians and private sector management.

Hope that helps.

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