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The Worldwide Governance Indicators: Methodology and Analytical Issues1

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 September 2011

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This paper summarizes the methodology of the Worldwide Governance Indicators (WGI) project, and related analytical issues. The WGI has covered over two hundred countries and territories, measuring six dimensions of governance starting in 1996: Voice and Accountability, Political Stability and Absence of Violence/Terrorism, Government Effectiveness, Regulatory Quality, Rule of Law, and Control of Corruption. The aggregate indicators are based on several hundred individual underlying variables, taken from a wide variety of existing data sources. The data reflect the views on governance of survey respondents and public, private, and NGO sector experts worldwide. We also explicitly report margins of error accompanying each country estimate. These reflect the inherent difficulties in measuring governance using any kind of data. We find that even after taking margins of error into account, the WGI permit meaningful cross-country and over-time comparisons. The aggregate indicators, together with the disaggregated underlying source data, are available at <>.

Copyright © T.M.C. Asser Press and the Authors 2011

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1 The findings, interpretations, and conclusions expressed in this paper are entirely those of the authors. They do not necessarily represent the views of the Brookings Institution, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/World Bank and its affiliated organizations, or those of the Executive Directors of the World Bank or the governments they represent. The Worldwide Governance Indicators (WGI) are not used by the World Bank for resource allocation. Financial support from the World Bank's Knowledge for Change trust fund, and the Hewlett Foundation is gratefully acknowledged. We would like to thank S. Rose, S. Radelet, C. Logan, M. Neumann, N. Meisel, J. Ould-Auodia, R. Fullenbaum, M. Seligson, F. Marzo, C. Walker, P. Wongwan, V. Hollingsworth, S. Hatipoglu, D. Cingranelli, D. Richards, M. Lagos, R. Coutinho, S. Mannan, Z. Tabernacki, J. Auger, L. Mootz, N. Heller, G. Kisunko, J. Rodriguez Mesa, J. Riano, V. Penciakova, and D. Cieslikowsky for providing data and comments, and answering our numerous questions. Particular thanks is due to Arseny Malov for his work in designing and maintaining the WGI website at <>.