October 27, 2006EconomyForeign AffairsPublic Policy

Mo’s Prize

Can we have one for Indian leaders too?

This is an archived blog post from The Acorn.

Mo Ibrahim, a UK-based telecoms millionaire of Egyptian origin, wants to reward African leaders for doing well and and stepping down gracefully.

The Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership is being launched on Thursday.

The award will go to African heads of state who deliver security, health, education and economic development to their constituents.

The prize will offer essentially good people, who may be wavering, the chance to opt for the good life after office,” said Mr Ibrahim. [BBC]The prize is worth US$5m (paid over 10 years) when they leave office, plus $200,000 a year for life. Harvard University will do the assessment and grading.

What’s novel about this prize is not that it is richer than the Nobel, rather the incentives it intends to create. Whether the pot of gold is big enough to work in practice remains to be seen—the marginal African leader will be incented to good behavior if he reckons that the expected value of the prize (the product of the probability of his winning and the actual prize value) is larger than what he can make through the usual ways.

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