IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/dia/wpaper/dt200617.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Are international databases on corruption reliable? A comparison of expert opinion surveys and household surveys in sub-Saharan Africa

Author

Listed:
  • Mireille Razafindrakoto

    () (DIAL, IRD, Paris)

  • François Roubaud

    () (DIAL, IRD, Paris)

Abstract

(english) The emergence of institutions, governance and especially corruption as major development considerations has generated a whole host of international databases intended to measure these concepts. These databases are now widely used in both the academic world and for public policies, especially for aid allocation. This study looks at the pertinence and limits of global corruption indicators based on experts’ perceptions. The study draws on a wave of original surveys coordinated by the authors and conducted simultaneously in eight African countries. This wave combines two types of surveys on the same subject. The first type of survey covering a sample of over 35,000 people takes an objective measure of the frequency of petty bureaucratic corruption and its characteristics. The second type (mirror survey) reports on 350 experts’ opinions on the matter. A comparison of these two sources paints a clear-cut picture of the experts’ error of assessment. We show that the experts do not provide a good gauge of the real level of corruption. They systematically overestimate the frequency of corruption. Moreover, the ranking of countries derived from their perceptions does not tie in with reality. The experts’ measurement error is all the greater in that the countries are not well graded in the international bases, which penalises the poorest of them. The econometric analyses also find ideological biases, with experts tending to rank countries based on their own political preferences, and the existence of a coherent, but erroneous implicit cultural model of how “Africa works”. The experts tend to massively overestimate the population’s level of tolerance of corrupt practices and underestimate the importance it attaches to matters of “good governance”. These findings make a case for a more cautious and rational use of global governance indicators. Our study also confirms the need to supplement global indicators with surveys of the players concerned. _________________________________ (français) L’émergence des institutions, de la gouvernance et tout particulièrement de la corruption, comme enjeu majeur du développement a engendré la multiplication de bases de données internationales censées mesurer ces concepts. Cette étude s’interroge sur la pertinence et les limites des indicateurs globaux de corruption basés sur la perception des experts. Elle mobilise un dispositif d’enquêtes originales réalisées simultanément dans huit pays africains, couplant deux types d’enquêtes sur la même thématique. Les premières, menées auprès de la population (avec un échantillon de 35 000 personnes au total), permettent d’obtenir une mesure objective de l’incidence et des caractéristiques de la petite corruption bureaucratique. La seconde, menée auprès de 350 experts (enquête-miroir), mesure la perception que s’en font les experts. En confrontant ces deux sources, nous montrons que ces derniers surestiment systématiquement l’incidence de la corruption et que le classement des pays induits par leurs perceptions n’est pas corrélé avec la réalité. L’erreur d’appréciation des experts est d’autant plus forte que les pays sont mal notés dans les bases internationales, pénalisant les plus pauvres d’entre eux. Les analyses économétriques mettent également en évidence la présence de biais idéologiques, ainsi que l’existence d’un modèle culturel implicite, cohérent mais erroné, sur la façon dont « l’Afrique fonctionne ». Les experts ont tendance à surestimer massivement le niveau de tolérance aux pratiques corruptives de la part de la population et à sous-estimer l’importance qu’elle accorde aux questions de « bonne gouvernance ». Ces résultats plaident en faveur d’un usage plus précautionneux et raisonné des indicateurs globaux de gouvernance et confirment la nécessité de les compléter par des enquêtes auprès des acteurs concernés.

Suggested Citation

  • 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).
  • Handle: RePEc:dia:wpaper:dt200617
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.dial.ird.fr/media/ird-sites-d-unites-de-recherche/dial/documents/publications/doc_travail/2006/2006-17
    File Function: First version, 2006
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert, 1999. "The Quality of Government," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 222-279, April.
    2. Dreher, Axel & Kotsogiannis, Christos & McCorriston, Steve, 2007. "Corruption around the world: Evidence from a structural model," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 443-466, September.
    3. Weber Abramo, Claudio, 2007. "How Much Do Perceptions of Corruption Really Tell Us?," Economics Discussion Papers 2007-19, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    4. 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.
    5. Razafindrakoto, Mireille & Roubaud, François, 2010. "Are International Databases on Corruption Reliable? A Comparison of Expert Opinion Surveys and Household Surveys in Sub-Saharan Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(8), pages 1057-1069, August.
    6. Knack, Stephen, 2007. "Measuring Corruption: A Critique of Indicators in Eastern Europe and Central Asia," Journal of Public Policy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 27(03), pages 255-291, December.
    7. 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.
    8. Daniel Kaufmann & Aart Kraay & Massimo Mastruzzi, 2004. "Governance Matters III: Governance Indicators for 1996, 1998, 2000, and 2002," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 18(2), pages 253-287.
    9. Javier Herrera & Mireille Razafindrakoto & François Roubaud, 2007. "Governance, Democracy and Poverty Reduction: Lessons Drawn from Household Surveys in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America," International Statistical Review, International Statistical Institute, vol. 75(1), pages 70-95, April.
    10. Naci Mocan, 2008. "What Determines Corruption? International Evidence From Microdata," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 46(4), pages 493-510, October.
    11. Olken, Benjamin A., 2009. "Corruption perceptions vs. corruption reality," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(7-8), pages 950-964, August.
    12. 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.
    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. Axel Dreher & Thomas Herzfeld, 2005. "The Economic Costs of Corruption: A Survey and New Evidence," Public Economics 0506001, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. 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.
    16. 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 269-292, April.
    17. Ian Lienert & Jitendra R. Modi, 1997. "A Decade of Civil Service Reform in Sub-Saharan Africa," IMF Working Papers 97/179, International Monetary Fund.
    18. Emmanuelle Lavallée & Mireille Razafindrakoto & François Roubaud, 2008. "Corruption and trust in political institutions in sub-Saharan Africa," Post-Print hal-01765960, HAL.
    19. repec:dau:papers:123456789/218 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Dilyan Donchev & Gergely Ujhelyi, 2014. "What Do Corruption Indices Measure?," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(2), pages 309-331, July.
    21. Kaufmann, Daniel & Kraay, Aart & Zoido-Lobaton, Pablo, 1999. "Aggregating governance indicators," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2195, The World Bank.
    22. repec:hrv:faseco:30747160 is not listed on IDEAS
    23. Treisman, Daniel, 2000. "The causes of corruption: a cross-national study," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 399-457, June.
    24. Paolo Mauro, 1995. "Corruption and Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(3), pages 681-712.
    25. Reinikka, Ritva & Svensson, Jakob, 2006. "Using Micro-Surveys to Measure and Explain Corruption," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 359-370, February.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Corruption; Governance; Perception; Subsaharan Africa; Experts surveys; Household surveys; Corruption; Gouvernance; Perception; Afrique sub-saharienne; Enquêtes-experts; Enquêtes-ménages;

    JEL classification:

    • C89 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Other
    • C42 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Survey Methods
    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
    • O19 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - International Linkages to Development; Role of International Organizations

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:dia:wpaper:dt200617. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Loic Le Pezennec). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/diallfr.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.