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Are International Databases on Corruption Reliable? A Comparison of Expert Opinion Surveys and Household Surveys in Sub-Saharan Africa

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  • Razafindrakoto, Mireille
  • Roubaud, François
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    Abstract

    Summary This study examines the limits of global corruption indicators based on experts' perceptions. It draws on a wave of original surveys conducted in eight African countries that combined two types of approaches. The first approach covers a sample of over 35,000 people and uses experience-based questions to measure petty bureaucratic corruption. The second (Mirror Survey) reports 350 experts' opinions. A comparison of these two sources paints a clear picture of the experts' errors of assessment. We also find evidence for ideological biases, with experts tending to rank countries based on their own political preferences, and the existence of an erroneous implicit cultural model of "how Africa works".

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal World Development.

    Volume (Year): 38 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 8 (August)
    Pages: 1057-1069

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:38:y:2010:i:8:p:1057-1069

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/worlddev

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    Keywords: corruption governance perception sub-Saharan Africa expert surveys household surveys;

    References

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    1. Benjamin A. Olken, 2007. "Monitoring Corruption: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Indonesia," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 200-249.
    2. Axel Dreher & Christos Kotsogiannis & Steve McCorriston, 2007. "Corruption Around the World: Evidence from a Structural Model," Discussion Papers 0702, Exeter University, Department of Economics.
    3. Javier Herrera & Mireille Razafindrakoto & François Roubaud, 2005. "Governance, Democracy and Poverty Reduction: Lessons drawn from household surveys in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America," Working Papers DT/2005/12, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
    4. Weber Abramo, Claudio, 2007. "How Much Do Perceptions of Corruption Really Tell Us?," Economics Discussion Papers 2007-19, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
    5. Lavallée, Emmanuelle & Razafindrakoto, Mireille & Roubaud, François, 2008. "Corruption and trust in political institutions in sub-Saharan Africa," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/218, Paris Dauphine University.
    6. Treisman, Daniel, 2000. "The causes of corruption: a cross-national study," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 399-457, June.
    7. Reinikka, Ritva & Svensson, Jakob, 2006. "Using Micro-Surveys to Measure and Explain Corruption," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 359-370, February.
    8. Benjamin Olken, 2006. "Corruption perceptions vs. corruption reality," Natural Field Experiments 00318, The Field Experiments Website.
    9. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert Vishny, 1998. "The Quality of Goverment," NBER Working Papers 6727, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    11. Naci Mocan, 2008. "What Determines Corruption? International Evidence From Microdata," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 46(4), pages 493-510, October.
    12. Daniel Kaufmann & Aart Kraay, 2008. "Governance Indicators: Where Are We, Where Should We Be Going?," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 23(1), pages 1-30, January.
    13. Gerring, John & Thacker, Strom C., 2005. "Do Neoliberal Policies Deter Political Corruption?," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 59(01), pages 233-254, January.
    14. Aron, Janine, 2000. "Growth and Institutions: A Review of the Evidence," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 15(1), pages 99-135, February.
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    16. Ian Lienert & Jitendra R. Modi, 1997. "A Decade of Civil Service Reform in Sub-Saharan Africa," IMF Working Papers 97/179, International Monetary Fund.
    17. Seligson, Mitchell A., 2006. "The Measurement and Impact of Corruption Victimization: Survey Evidence from Latin America," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 381-404, February.
    18. Mireille Razafindrakoto & François Roubaud, 2006. "Are international databases on corruption reliable? A comparison of expert opinion surveys and household surveys in sub-Saharan Africa," Working Papers DT/2006/17, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
    19. Di Tella, Rafael & Schargrodsky, Ernesto, 2003. "The Role of Wages and Auditing during a Crackdown on Corruption in the City of Buenos Aires," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 46(1), pages 269-92, April.
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    21. Mauro, Paolo, 1995. "Corruption and Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 681-712, August.
    22. Emmanuelle Lavallée & Mireille Razafindrakoto & François Roubaud, 2008. "Corruption and trust in political institutions in sub-Saharan Africa," Working Papers DT/2008/07, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
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    Cited by:
    1. Brown, David S. & Touchton, Michael & Whitford, Andrew, 2011. "Political Polarization as a Constraint on Corruption: A Cross-national Comparison," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(9), pages 1516-1529, September.
    2. Campos, Nauro F & Dimova, Ralitza & Saleh, Ahmad, 2010. "Whither Corruption? A Quantitative Survey of the Literature on Corruption and Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 8140, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Jahedi, Salar & Méndez, Fabio, 2014. "On the advantages and disadvantages of subjective measures," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 97-114.
    4. Michael Breen & Robert Gillanders, 2011. "Corruption, Institutions and Regulation," Working Papers 201106, School Of Economics, University College Dublin.
    5. Javier Herrera & Mireille Razafindrakoto & François Roubaud, 2013. "Les sciences sociales au service du débat démocratique au Sud:enjeux, supports, retombées. Résultats d'expériences dans le champ de l'économie et de la statistique," Working Papers DT/2013/02, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
    6. Roubaud, François & Razafindrakoto, Mireille & Herrera, Javier, 2013. "Les sciences sociales au service du débat démocratique au Sud : enjeux, supports, retombées. Résultats d'expériences dans le champ de l'économie et de la statistique," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/11190, Paris Dauphine University.
    7. Campos, Nauro F & Estrin, Saul & Proto, Eugenio, 2010. "Corruption as a Barrier to Entry: Theory and Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 8061, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    8. Lee, Wang-Sheng & Guven, Cahit, 2013. "Engaging in corruption: The influence of cultural values and contagion effects at the microlevel," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 287-300.

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