In 2010, Lawrence Lessig launched the Edmond J. Safra Research Lab, a major initiative designed to address fundamental problems of ethics in a way that is of practical benefit to institutions of government and society around the world. As its first undertaking, the Lab is tackling the problem of institutional corruption.
"Institutional corruption is manifest when there is a systemic and strategic influence which is legal, or even currently ethical, that undermines the institution’s effectiveness by diverting it from its purpose or weakening its ability to achieve its purpose, including, to the extent relevant to its purpose, weakening either the public’s trust in that institution or the institution’s inherent trustworthiness." - from "Institutional Corruption, Defined" by Lawrence Lessig.
Over a five year period, the Lab is studying a wide range of important institutions with the ultimate goal of producing a set of practical tools that might be used both to understand the dynamic of institutional corruption and to respond to it. A structure of fellowships supports the project and draws scholars and researchers from a wide range of disciplines across academia, industry, and government. Collaborative research that integrates the work of different fields is a strong component of the Lab's work. 2014-15 is the final year of the five-year project, which will culminate in a two-day conference on May 1 and 2, 2015.
Read a full description of the Lab's research project and operational plan.
Watch the Lab's introductory lecture, given by Professor Lessig in the fall of 2009, which lays out the framework for the Lab's current project on institutional corruption.
The Edmond J. Safra Research Lab is made possible, in part, by the generous support of Mrs. Lily Safra. Read more about her extraordinary gift.