A new generation of corruption indicators

Corruption has come to be acknowledged as a major contemporary problem, undermining development, weakening states, perpetuating inequality, and subverting trust in government. Despite the growth of dedicated anticorruption policies in the past three decades, corruption remains notoriously difficult to measure and the impact of such policies hard to assess. Since Sustainable Development Goal 16 introduced rule of law and quality of institutions among the development goals, the efforts have multiplied to find measurements of corruption that can guide effective anticorruption policies. Yet, the common corruption indices tell us mainly about how citizens and experts perceive the state of corruption in their society. They do not tell us anything about the causes of corruption, or about how the situation could be improved. While perceptions of individuals often originate in their experiences, they are also largely unspecific and tend to measure trust in government rather than corruption.

Starting with 2015 and building on the work of Alina Mungiu-Pippidi the European Research Centre for Anti-Corruption and State-Building (ERCAS) engaged in the development of a new generation of corruption indicators to fill the gap. This led to the creation of the Index for Public Integrity (IPI) in 2017, of the Corruption Risk Forecast in 2020 and of the T-index (de jure and de facto computer mediated government transparency) in 2021. Also since 2021 a component of the T-index (administrative transparency) is included in the IPI, whose components also offer the basis for the Corruption Risk Forecast.

This generation is different from perception indicators in a few fundamental aspects:

  1. Theory-grounded. Our indicators are unique because they are based on a clear theory- why corruption happens, how do countries that control corruption differ from those that don’t and what specifically is broken and should be fixed. We tested for a large variety of indicators before we decided on these ones.

  2. Specific. Each component is a measurement based on facts of a certain aspect of control of corruption or transparency. Read methodology to follow in detail where the data comes from and how these indicators were selected.

  3. Change sensitive. Except for the T-index components whose monitoring started in 2021 all other components go back in time at least 12 years and can be compared across years in the Trends menu on the Corruption Risk forecast page. No statistical process blurs the difference across years as with perception indicators. For long term trends, we flag what change is significant and what change is not. T-index components will also be comparable across the nest years to come. Furthermore, our indicators are selected to be actionable, so any significant policy intervention which has an impact is captured and reported when we renew the data.

  4. Comparative. You can compare every country we cover with the rest of the world to see exactly where it stands, and against its peers from the region and the income group.

  5. Transparent. Our T-index data allows you to review and contribute to our work. Use the feedback form on T-index page to send input, and after checking by our team we will upgrade the codes to include your contribution. Use the feedback form on Corruption Risk forecast page to contribute to the forecast.

In partnership with the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), ERCAS assembled the data from these projects in 2022 in a single data repository.

How to use this webpage

You should use these webpage to:

  1. Diagnose a country’s corruption risk and its transparency equipment.
    The Transparency Index (T-index) measures the existence of free and accessible information on essential public websites.
    The Index for Public Integrity allows understanding where a country stands on control of corruption by using 6 fact-based indicators (transparency is one) that measure the balance between opportunities for versus constraints of corruption.

  2. Monitor long term trends & predictions
    We combine long terms trends with short terms major political developments and weight by general demand for good governance in a society to forecast if a country is on an upward, downward or stationary trend in managing its corruption risks.

  3. Strategize
    Map the distance between the country you are interested in and its income or regional peers and clarify your policy targets on both transparency and integrity.
    Check the forecast to understand why the country is stagnating or changing and adjust your theory of change.

  4. Become a contributor

    You can help review our data or become a full-fledged contributor to the T-index for your country. Write to us.

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The indicators on corruptionrisk.org have been developed by Professor Alina Mungiu-Pippidi and her research team at the European Research Centre for Anti-Corruption and State-Building (ERCAS).

Please cite this methodology paper for the Index of Public Integrity, and this one for the T-Index. For the Corruption Risk Forecast, please cite Alina Mungiu-Pippidi (2022), Trend Analysis and Forecast Methodology.