Document Type


Publication Date





As more nations and organizations establish debarment (or "blacklisting") systems, to exclude corrupt or incompetent firms and individuals from contracting, a serious question has arisen: if a contractor is debarred, should other jurisdictions automatically exclude that contractor in a "cross-debarment"? This paper, which grew out of an October 2012 symposium at the World Bank, discusses the advantages and disadvantages of cross-debarment, from the standpoint of various stakeholders. The article concludes that some stakeholders (such as debarring officials themselves) might prefer that there be no automatic cross-debarment, so that government officials retain discretion -- and so leverage -- to persuade contractors to take remedial measures. The paper concludes that while automatic cross-debarment might enhance anti-corruption efforts, automatic cross-debarment is likely to raise real -- and, in most cases, legitimate -- concerns in the affected stakeholder communities. Stakeholders would more likely coalesce around a more moderate approach, which ensured that debarments were fully publicized, and that officials in other nations had due notice of corruption and performance failure, but which left those officials with flexibility and discretion in addressing a foreign debarment.

GW Paper Series

GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2013-112; GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 2013-112