The complicated relationship between governments and corporate consultants

Corporate consultants bring expertise, but in their bid to please their clients (read governments), they often cross an ethical line, which works against the principles of good public policy.

The best corporate consultants are storytellers. They play the role of the courtier in a ruler’s court, mirroring their sovereign’s (client’s) thoughts, trying to stay in favour (and not get fired) and occasionally taking the risk of spinning a fantastical tale that can capture the court’s (company’s/government’s) imagination. Sometimes, they provide useful insights, too. Whether it is selling fantastical dreams of the exploding Indian middle class and their consumptive power in the early 2000s, or trying to attract international investment into India’s sputtering oil and gas block auctions, big consulting firms have been at the forefront of selling India’s …

Author

Rohit Chandra

Rohit Chandra is an assistant professor at IIT Delhi’s School of Public Policy and also a visiting fellow at the Centre for Policy Research. Primarily a political scientist and economic historian, his academic work spans the areas of energy policy, state capitalism and infrastructure finance; he has spent the last decade studying the coal and power sectors.

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