To measure the impact of governance, and especially corruption, global indicators have been created and international databases have proliferated. These indicators, devised initially by private agencies for their clients (banks, investors and so on) or by researchers for their studies, gradually became institutionalized. They allow a mark to be assigned to each country, which then serve to rank them according to their more or less good performance relating to the criterion considered. They are now widely used, notably for allocating aid for development to countries of the South.
At the IRD, researchers of the DIAL research unit (3) focused on the pertinence and limitations of utilizing these global indicators, which are based essentially on the perception of experts (business people, researchers, specialists, senior civil servants, politicians and so on). They put special emphasis on petty bureaucratic corruption that people are subjected to in their dealings with administrative bodies (4). The analysis rests on an original system, involving comparison of two types of survey, conducted between 2001 and 2003, simultaneously in 8 African countries on the same theme. The first involves household surveys (5) and the second consists of surveys conducted by experts, both from North and South – the “mirror surveys”. The household surveys, concerning 35 000 people, provide an objective measure of petty bureaucratic corruption and of its characteristics, whereas the expert survey drew upon the perceptions of 350 experts interviewed on the subject. Examination of these two sources of information side-by-side led to an accurate assessment of the error of appreciation made by these experts about the extent and nature of this form of corruption.The proportion of people stating that they had been direct victims of corruption during the year preceding the survey varied depending on the country: between 8% in Benin and more than 16% in the Ivory Coast and Madagascar, the latter countries having also suffered severe political and economic crisis. This proportion is 13% averaged over the eight countries concerned. Comparison of this figure with the one declared by the experts showed that almost all of these (94%) overestimated the degree of corruption local people suffered. Their assessment put the proportion at 52%, four times greater. This discrepancy was found again when each country was considered individually. Although they recognized the extent of small-scale corruption, the experts showed themselves to be scarcely able to quantify the real size of the phenomenon. Furthermore, countries’ ranking founded on their perception does not correlate with reality. This can be explained by patchy knowledge of the daily life of ordinary citizens and of poor people in particular.
The experts’ judgment of the “mirror survey” proved to be closely associated with global indicators of the perception of corruption originating from the major international databases. This result, which validates the “mirror-enquiry” sample does not, however, provide knowledge as to whether or not this correlation comes from prior knowledge of international ranking or a vision shared by experts as a whole. Moreover, experts’ error of appreciation appears all the more significant in that the countries have been given poor rankings on the international level. In this way, the poorest countries, poorly governed, would be penalized and deprived of the aid they need. Added to that is an ideological bias, some experts tending to overestimate the degree of corruption of countries that do not follow their own personal opinions on economic policy.
These results, by putting the opinion of experts in perspective, emphasize some weaknesses in the system of global corruption indicators, some of which are recognized by the originators of the indicators themselves. However, they do not call into question the overall validity of these indicators: the study concerns only 8 countries. An examination conducted on a larger number of cases could add refinements to the conclusions. Another point is that these indicators embrace the various forms of corruption and not just bureaucratic corruption. The researchers therefore advocate a more reasoned utilization of these global indicators, both in research work and in determining economic policy and development aid allocation. They recommend the setting up of complementary surveys that take into account the point of view of the people concerned and the experiences they have in their daily lives.Marie Guillaume-Signoret – IRD
(2)The concept of governance has no internationally recognized definition. According to the OECD Development Aid Committee, it is “the use of political authority and exercise of control in relation to the management of the resources of a society in view of economic and social development”
(3)The research unit 047 DIAL “Développement, institutions et analyses de long terme” is engaged in an international programme which groups together the Observatoire statistique et economic d’Afrique sub-saharienne, the general secretariat of the Andean Community and 13 national statistics institutes from Africa and Latin America. See scientific builletin n° 128 www.ird.fr/fr/actualites/fiches/2005/fiche218.htm
(4)“Grand corruption” (attribution of public-sector contracts, budget fraud, etc.) and political corruption (financing of political parties, vote buying, etc.) are not considered here because they are not directly accessible through representative surveys.
(5)Surveys 1-2-3, elaborated by DIAL on employment, the informal sector and poverty, to which specific modules on governance and democracy have been added.
Marie Guillaume | alfa
Corporate coworking as a driver of innovation
22.11.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO
Mathematical confirmation: Rewiring financial networks reduces systemic risk
22.06.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.
Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...
MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.
Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...
Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences
15.12.2017 | Life Sciences