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Is it wrong to rank? A critical assessment of corruption indices

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  • Tina Søreide

Abstract

This paper emphasizes the importance of collecting information on corruption, while still stressing critical aspects of the most applied sources of such information, the cross-country composite corruption indices. Are these indices damaging and misleading or are they informative and useful? The paper points to the implication of the lack of a clear distinction between legal and illegal payments or ways of gaining influence. It summarizes the main limitations of Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), underscores the problem of expecting perceptions to be reliable, and discusses the problem of incorrect understanding and usage of the index. Publicity does not necessarily mean progress, and the construction of the CPI should be influenced by the way this index is applied by the public. A final question is whether it is possible to increase the CPI's value by creating incentives for states to improve their achievements under, for instance, the OECD anti-bribery convention.

Suggested Citation

  • Tina Søreide, 2006. "Is it wrong to rank? A critical assessment of corruption indices," CMI Working Papers WP 2006: 1, CMI (Chr. Michelsen Institute), Bergen, Norway.
  • Handle: RePEc:chm:wpaper:wp2006-1
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jakob Svensson, 2003. "Who Must Pay Bribes and How Much? Evidence from a Cross Section of Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(1), pages 207-230.
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    5. Astri Suhrke & Espen Villanger & Susan L. Woodward, 2005. "Economic Aid to Post-conflict Countries: A Methodological Critique of Collier and Hoeffler," CMI Working Papers WP 2005:4, CMI (Chr. Michelsen Institute), Bergen, Norway.
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    9. Glaeser, Edward & Scheinkman, Jose & Shleifer, Andrei, 2003. "The injustice of inequality," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 199-222, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Høyland, Bjørn & Moene, Karl & Willumsen, Fredrik, 2012. "The tyranny of international index rankings," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(1), pages 1-14.
    2. Weber Abramo, Claudio, 2008. "How Much Do Perceptions of Corruption Really Tell Us?," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 2, pages 1-56.

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    Keywords

    Corruption Index Data;

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