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Is corruption a Sand or Grease for International Business transactions?

Salman Bahoo of the School of Business and Law at the University of Agder has submitted his thesis entitled “Essays on Corruption” and will defend the thesis for the PhD-degree Friday 19 February 2021. (Photo: Private)

This study confirms that OECD member countries signatory of the Anti-Bribery Convention 1997 avoid business transactions with corrupt trading partners.

Salman Bahoo

PhD Candidate

The disputation will be held digitally, because of the Corona covid-19-situation. Spectators may follow the disputation digitally – link is available below.


Salman Bahoo of the School of Business and Law at the University of Agder has submitted his thesis entitled “Essays on Corruption” and will defend the thesis for the PhD-degree Friday 19 February 2021.

He has followed the PhD-programme at theSchool of Business and Law at the University of Agder, with spesialisation in International Business.

In his doctoral dissertation, Salman Bahoo has researched "Corruption"- specifically, the association of corruption with firms (including banking), international business, foreign direct investment, international trade and foreign aid. Corruption has both the sand and grease effect on international business transactions.

Salman Bahoo is a joint/cotutelle Ph.D. in “International Business” from the University of Agder, Norway and “Managerial and Actuarial Sciences” from the University of Udine, Italy. Funding from University of Udine, Italy under the Cotutelle agreement.

Summary of the thesis by Salman Bahoo:

Is corruption a Sand or Grease for International Business transactions?

This is how Salman Bahoo summarizes his doctoral thesis.

Mr. Bahoo defines corruption as an "illegal activity conducted through misuse of power by public or private officials or firms for personal benefits, financial or otherwise." Corruption is blamed for poverty, hunger, low business activity, lower economic growth and development. Corruption impacts society and the economy, which makes it a multidisciplinary subject and phenomenon.

Four studies

The four studies which comprise this thesis used several qualitative and quantitative methods and data sources. Below is the summary of the respective studies.

The first study is the hybrid literature review of 137 articles on corruption in international business last 17 years between 1992-2019.

This paper presents an overview, types, and insights of corruption related to firm and international business. It gives a call to establish an anti-corruption architecture in firms to control corruption, globally and locally.

The second study is the bibliometric review of corruption in banking for the last 50 years between 1969 to 2019.

This study has the following contributions to the literature on corruption related to banks:

(i) identification of six streams

(ii) presentation of influential aspects of literature

(iii) calls for the establishment of an anti-corruption architecture system by considering corruption as a managerial issue in banks, and

(iv) it posits 20 future research questions.

Foreign aid effect

The third study examines the moderating role of foreign aid between corruption and foreign direct investment (FDI) at two levels:

(i) FDI propensity (when a company considers investing abroad), and

(ii) FDI inflows (when they increase their investments in corrupt countries in which they already invested).

  • The result confirms that corruption's asymmetric effect on FDI depends on two investment phases (FDI propensity and inflows).
  • Second, corruption has negative impact on FDI.
  • Finally, foreign aid (ODA) as a formal institution negates corruption's adverse impact as an informal institution on foreign investors.

Aid and corruption

The fourth study investigates moderating effect of foreign aid between the negative effect of trading partner's corruption (as an informal institution) on OECD countries' international trade flows (imports and exports).

The findings of the study confirm that trading partner's corruption hurts OECD country's imports and exports.

Bilateral aid (ODA) has no moderating effect on corruption's negative impact on OECD countries' imports, but only AfT has a moderating impact on OECD's imports.

Finally, foreign aid (ODA and AfT) moderates the adverse effects of trading partners' corruption on OECD countries' exports.

This study confirms that OECD member countries signatory of the Anti-Bribery Convention 1997 and avoid business transactions with corrupt trading partners.

Disputation facts

The trial lecture and the public defence will take place online, via the Zoom conferencing app (link below)

Head of the Department of Management, Associate Professor Bjørn-Tore Flåten, School of Business and Law, UiA, will chair the disputation.

The trial lecture at 13:00 hours
Public defence at 14:00 hours


Given topic for trial lectureAssessing the broad spectrum of corruption related theories: key strengths and weaknesses”

Thesis TitleEssays on Corruption

Search for the thesis in AURA - Agder University Research Archive, a digital archive of scientific papers, theses and dissertations from the academic staff and students at the University of Agder.

The thesis is available here:


The CandidateSalman Bahoo (1987, Pakistan) Master of Philosophy (Business Administration) National College Of Business Administration, Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan (2016), PhD Research Fellow, Università degli Studi di Udine, Italia (2017 – 2021).


First opponent: Professor Andrei Panibratov, University of Oregon – USA

Second opponent: Associate Professor Michela Cesarina Mason, University of Udine - Italia

Associate Professor Stina Torjesen,  Department of Management, University of Agder, is appointed as the administrator for the assessment commitee.

Supervisors were Professor Ilan Alon, UiA, and Associate Professor Josanco Floreani, University of Udine, Italy.

What to do as an audience member:

The disputation is open to the public, but to follow the trial lecture and the public defence, which is transmitted via the Zoom conferencing app, you have to register as an audience member.

We ask audience members to join the virtual trial lecture at 12:55 at the earliest and the public defense at 13:55 at the earliest. After these times, you can leave and rejoin the meeting at any time. Further, we ask audience members to turn off their microphone and camera and keep them turned off throughout the event. You do this at the bottom left of the image when in Zoom. We recommend you use ‘Speaker view’. You select that at the top right corner of the video window when in Zoom.

Opponent ex auditorio:

The chair invites members of the public to pose questions ex auditorio in the introduction to the public defense, with deadlines. It is a prerequisite that the opponent has read the thesis. Questions can be submitted to the chair Bjørn-Tore Flåten at e-mail bjorn-tore.flaten@uia.no