Skip to main content
×
×
Home

“Close but no Cigar”: the measurement of corruption*

  • Paul M. Heywood (a1) and Jonathan Rose (a2)
Abstract

The financial cost of corruption has recently been estimated at more than 5 per cent of global GDP. Yet, despite the widespread agreement that corruption is one of the most pressing policy challenges facing world leaders, it remains as widespread today, possibly even more so, as it was when concerted international attention began being devoted to the issue following the end of the Cold War. In reality, we still have a relatively weak understanding of how best to measure corruption and how to develop effective guides to action from such measurement. This paper provides a detailed review of existing approaches to measuring corruption, focusing in particular on perception-based and non-perceptual approaches. We highlight a gap between the conceptualisation of corruption and its measurement, and argue that there is a tension between the demands of policy-makers and anti-corruption activists on the one hand, and the motivations of academic researchers on the other. The search for actionable answers on the part of the former sits uncomfortably with the latter’s focus on the inherent complexity of corruption.

Copyright
Footnotes
Hide All
*

Some of the material in this article is from research supported by a grant from the ESRC and the Hong Kong Research Grants Council (RES-000-22-4407).

Footnotes
References
Hide All
Andersson, S. and Heywood, P. (2009) The Politics of Perception: Use and Abuse of Transparency International’s Approach to Measuring Corruption. Political Studies 57: 746767.
Andvig, J. (2005) “A House of Straw, Sticks or Bricks”? Some Notes on Corruption Empirics. Oslo: Norsk Utenrikspolitisk Institutt, NUPI Working Paper 678.
Apaza, C. R. (2009) Measuring Governance and Corruption Through the Worldwide Governance Indicators: Critiques, Responses, and Ongoing Scholarly Discussion. Political Science and Politics 42: 139143.
Arndt, C. and Oman, C. (2006) Uses and Abuses of Governance Indicators. Paris: OECD Development Centre Study.
Beber, B. and Scacco, A. (2012) What the Numbers Say: A Digit Based Test for Election Fraud. Political Analysis 20(2): 211234.
Breunig, C. and Goerres, A. (2011) Searching for Electoral Irregularities in an Established Democracy: Applying Benford’s Law Tests to Bundestag Elections in Unified Germany. Electoral Studies 30(3): 534545.
Bussell, J. (2011) Explaining Cross-National Variation in Government Adoption of New Technologies. International Studies Quarterly 55(1): 267280.
Catrinescu, N., Leon-Ledesma, M., Piracha, M. and Quillin, B. (2008) Remitances, Institutions, and Economic Growth. World Development 37(1): 8192.
CleanGovBiz (2013) The Rationale for Fighting Corruption, Background Brief, http://www.oecd.org/cleangovbiz/49693613.pdf (accessed 6 March 2014).
Deckert, J., Myagkov, M. and Ordeshook, P. (2011) Benford’s Law and the Detection of Electoral Fraud. Political Analysis 19(3): 245268.
de Maria, B. (2008) Neo-Colonialism through Measurement: A Critique of the Corruption Perception Index. Critical Perspectives on International Business 4(2/3): 184202.
Donchev, D. and Ujhelyi, G. (2009) What do Corruption Indices Measure?, working paper, http://ssrn.com/abstract=1124066; http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1124066 (accessed 6 March 2014).
European Commission (2006) Special Eurobarometer 245: Opinions on Organised, Cross-Border Crime and Corruption, http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/ebs/ebs_245_sum_en.pdf (accessed 7 March 2014).
European Commission (2008) Special Eurobarometer 291: The Attitudes of Europeans Towards Corruption, http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/ebs/ebs_291_sum_en.pdf (accessed 7 March 2014).
European Commission (2009) Special Eurobarometer 325: Attitudes of Europeans Towards Corruption, http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/ebs/ebs_325_en.pdf (accessed 7 March 2014).
European Commission (2012) Special Eurobarometer 374: Corruption, http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/ebs/ebs_374_en.pdf (accessed 7 March 2014).
Foster, J., Horowitz, A. and Mendez, F. (2009) An Axiomatic Approach to the Measurement of Corruption: Theory and Applications, Seminar Paper, Midwest Economic Association Meetings , Walton College of Business.
Glaeser, E. and Saks, R. (2006) Corruption in America. Journal of Public Economics 90: 10531072.
Global Integrity (2011) Why We Killed the Global Integrity Index, http://www.globalintegrity.org/node/792 (accessed 3 July 2013).
Goel, R. and Rich, D. (1989) On the Economic Incentives for Taking Bribes. Public Choice 61: 269275.
Golden, M. and Picci, L. (2005) Proposal for a New Measure of Corruption. Illustrated with Italian Data. Economics and Politics 17(1): 3775.
Hawken, A. and Munck, G. (2009) Do You Know Your Data? Measurement Validity in Corruption Research, working paper, School of Public Policy, Pepperdine University (Malibu: California).
Herzfeld, T. and Weiss, C. (2003) Corruption and Legal (In)effectiveness: An Empirical Investigation. European Journal of Political Economy 19(3): 621632.
Johnston, M. (2006) Assessing the Progress of Anti-Corruption Efforts: Actionable Indicators of Reform, presentation at Workshop on Governance and Development, Dhaka, 11–12 November.
Kalinin, K. and Mebane, W. (2010) Understanding Electoral Frauds Through Evolution of Russian Federalism: From “Bargaining Loyalty” to “Signaling Loyalty”, paper prepared for the 2010 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Washington, DC, 2–5 September.
Kaufmann, D., Kraay, A. and Mastruzzi, M. (2007) Growth and Governance: A Reply. The Journal of Politics 69(2): 555562.
Kaufmann, D., Kraay, A. and Mastruzzi, M. (2008) Governance Matters VII: Aggregate and Individual Governance Indicators, 1996–2007, World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 4654, http://ssrn.com/abstract=1148386 (accessed 31 March 2014).
Kaufmann, D., Kraay, A. and Mastruzzi, M. (2009) Governance Matters VIII: Aggregate and Individual Governance Indicators, 1996–2008, World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 4978, http://ssrn.com/abstract=1424591 (accessed 6 March 2014).
Kenny, C. (2009) Measuring Corruption in Infrastructure: Evidence from Transition and Developing Countries. Journal of Development Studies 45(3): 314332.
Knack, S. (2006) Measuring Corruption in Eastern Europe and Central Asia: A Critique of the Cross-Country Indicators, World Bank Working Paper 3968, World Bank (Washington D.C.).
Kurtz, M. and Shrank, A. (2007) Growth and Governance: Models, Measures, and Mechanisms. Journal of Politics 69(2): 538554.
Langbein, L. and Knack, S. (2010) The Worldwide Governance Indicators: Six, One, or None? Journal of Development Studies 46(2): 350370.
Mebane, W. (2006a) Election Forensics: Vote Counts and Benford’s Law, paper prepared for the 2006 Summer Meeting of the Political Methodology Society, UC-Davis, 20–22 July.
Mebane, W. (2006b) Election Forensics: The Second-Digit Benford’s Law Test and Recent American Presidential Elections, paper prepared for the 2006 Election Fraud Conference, Salt Lake City, UT, 29–30 September.
Mebane, W. (2011) Comment on “Benford’s Law and the Detection of Election Fraud”. Political Analysis 19(3): 269272.
Olken, B. (2009) Corruption Perceptions vs. Corruption Reality. Journal of Public Economics 93(7–8): 950964.
Philp, M. (2006) Corruption Definition and Measurement. In Sampford C., Shacklock A., Carmel C. and F. Gatlung (eds.), Measuring Corruption. London: Ashgate, 4579.
Rauch, B., Göttsche, M., Brähler, G. and Engel, S. (2011) Fact and Fiction in EU-Governmental Economic Data. German Economic Review 12(3): 243255.
Razafindrakoto, M. and Roubaud, F. (2006) Are International Databases on Corruption Reliable? A Comparison of Expert Opinion Surveys and Household Surveys in Sub-Saharan Africa, Document de Travail, 2006–2007, Paris: Dial (Unité Mixte de Recherche IRD 225).
Rittel, H. W. J., Webber, M. M. (1973) Dilemmas in a General Theory of Planning. Policy Sciences 4: 155169.
Rothstein, B. (2011) The Quality of Government. London: Chicago University Press.
Saisana, M. and Saltelli, A. (2012) Corruption Perceptions Index 2012 Statistical Assessment, JRC Scientific and Policy Reports, European Commission Luxembourg.
Seligson, M. A. (2006) The Measurement and Impact of Corruption Victimization: Survey Evidence from Latin America. World Development 34(2): 381404.
Svensson, J. (2005) Eight Questions About Corruption. Journal of Economic Perspectives 19(3): 1942.
Thomas, M. A. (2010) What do the Worldwide Governance Indicators Measure? European Journal of Development Research 22: 3154.
Transparency International (TI) (2007) Persistent Corruption in Low-Income Countries Requires Global Action, Transparency International press release, http://web.archive.org/web/20071011001633/http://www.transparency.org/news_room/latest_news/press_releases/2007/2007_09_26_cpi_2007_en (accessed 6 March 2014).
Transparency International (TI) (2009) Measuring International Trends in Corruption, Transparency International, U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre (Bergen: Norway).
Transparency International (TI) (2010) What is the CPI? http://www.transparency.org/cpi2010/in_detail (accessed 6 March 2014).
Transparency International (TI) (2011a) Frequently Asked Questions About the Corruption Perceptions Index: Can Country/Territory Scores in the 2011 CPI be Compared to Those in Past Indices? http://cpi.transparency.org/cpi2011/in_detail/#myAnchor6 (accessed 6 March 2014).
Transparency International (TI) (2011b) Short Methodological Note, http://www.transparency.org/content/download/64476/1031428 (accessed 6 March 2014).
Transparency International (TI) (2012) Transparency International Full Source Description Corruption Perceptions Index 2012, http://files.transparency.org/content/download/533/2213/file/2012_CPI_DataPackage.zip (accessed 6 March 2014).
Treisman, D. (2007) What Have We Learned About the Causes of Corruption from Ten Yeats of Cross-National Empirical Research? Annual Revue of Political Science 10: 211244.
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) (2008) “A Users’ Guide to Measuring Corruption” United Nations Development Program, Norway: UNDP Oslo Governance Centre.
Urra, F.-J. (2007) Assessing Corruption: An Analytical Review of Corruption Measurement and its Problems: Perception, Error and Utility, http://unpan1.un.org/intradoc/groups/public/documents/apcity/unpan028792.pdf (accessed 6 March 2014).
van der Vleuten, V. and Verloo, M. (2012) Ranking and Benchmarking: The Political Logic of New Regulatory Instruments in the Fields of Gender Equality and Anti-Corruption. Policy & Politics 40(1): 7388.
Weber Abramo, C. (2008) How Much Do Perceptions of Corruption Really Tell Us? Economics: The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal 2(2008–3).
Zaman, A. and Rahim, F. (2008) Corruption: Measuring the Unmeasurable, MPRA Paper No. 13882, http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/13882/1/MPRA_paper_13882.pdf (accessed 6 March 2014).
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Journal of Public Policy
  • ISSN: 0143-814X
  • EISSN: 1469-7815
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-public-policy
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed