Chapter 21: Kazakhstan: In search of international legitimacy
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Kazakhstan has long-standing ambitions to join the OECD dating back as far as 2008. This aspiration is part of a wider agenda aimed at international approbation. Yet collaboration with the OECD has not progressed well or quickly enough. A multilateral review conducted by the OECD in 2016 suggested Kazakhstan needed deep structural reforms to include economic diversification, increased privatisation and tighter environmental regulation. This chapter considers three areas where the OECD made specific recommendations: public governance, public sector integrity, and open government. Only modest improvements have resulted. The experience of the OECD-Kazakhstan government partnership is a good example of isomorphic mimicry where the latter implemented the visible trappings of reform. What we witness in Kazakhstan is all the rhetoric of the OECD reform agenda but only partial implementation. For the government of Kazakhstan it has ‘paid its dues’ to the OECD and now demands international legitimacy.

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