Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Reliability of corruption indicators in relation to development aid

28.03.2007
September 2000 saw the signing of the Millennium Declaration, initiated by UNO, committing States to work to reduce poverty and favour world economic growth in the years to come. Acknowledgment of failure of adjustment structural plans (1) has led to a certain rehabilitation of the role of the State. With that comes the adoption of new strategies for fighting poverty, that place factors other than just classical economic considerations at the heart of development programmes: governance (2), adherence of people to policies or their involvement in public life.

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
Translation : Nicholas Flay
(1)These plans have been applied in most developing countries since the 1980s, on the initiative of the IMF and the World Bank. The measures advocated (devaluation of national currency, public spending cuts, privatization, opening up to the market, etc.) were presumed to encourage growth.

(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
Further information:
http://www.ird.fr/us/actualites/fiches/2007/fas259.pdf

More articles from Business and Finance:

nachricht Frugal Innovations: when less is more
19.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO

nachricht Europe's microtechnology industry is attuned to growth
10.03.2017 | IVAM Fachverband für Mikrotechnik

All articles from Business and Finance >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>