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Fear and Loathing of the Corruption Perception Index: Does Transparency International Penalize Press Freedom?

Listed author(s):
  • Jacqueline Brown

    (MIA, Columbia University School for International and Public Affairs)

  • William Orme

    (UNDP Democratic Governance Group)

  • Thomas Roca

    (GED, Université Montesquieu Bordeaux IV)

Registered author(s):

    Depuis que la gouvernance compte, l’Indice de perception de la corruption construit par Transparency International (TI) est devenu l’indicateur le plus influent dans son domaine. Chaque année, un classement est ainsi établi, pointant du doigt les pays perçus comme les plus corrompus par les experts de TI. Cet indice est un outil puissant de lutte contre le fléau de la corruption, permettant effectivement de mettre une réelle pression politique sur des régimes « mal gouvernés ». L’influence de ce classement sur l’économie des pays concernés peut être importante, rendant parfois plus difficile l’accès aux financements, qu’il s’agisse de l’aide internationale ou des investissements directs étrangers. Bien souvent, il s’agit d’une double peine pour des populations déjà victimes au quotidien de services publics gangrenés par la corruption et le clientélisme. La mesure de la corruption, à l’image des différents outils mis en place pour évaluer la gouvernance, est une mesure qualitative, issue de perceptions. Comme toute perception, elle est sujette à la disponibilité de l’information et subit l’influence des médias. Nos analyses ont montré que le niveau de liberté de la presse pouvait avoir une influence importante sur ces perceptions, pénalisant les jeunes démocraties et l’ouverture progressive des médias. Transparency International’s annual Corruption Perception Index (CPI) has become the single most effective advocacy tool in the global fight against fraud, embezzlement and other abuses of public office for private gain. Countries relegated to the bottom tier of the CPI rankings are not only embarrassed (usually), but penalized financially, as the stigma makes it harder to secure aid and investment. For any multilateral loan officer or multinational plant-siting team, checking a country’s CPI rating is now basic due diligence. As well it should be: Corruption is a development scourge, acting as a stubborn brake on growth, a regressive tax on the poor, and - often - a corrosively effective enemy of democratization. Corruption assessment, not unlike governance assessment tools, is qualitative and the result of perceptions. Therefore, it suffers from the influence of information availability and media freedom. Our analysis, demonstrated that the media freedom extent may have a strong influence on corruption perceptions, penalizing young democracies and progressive media aperture.(Full text in french)

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    Paper provided by Groupe d'Economie du Développement de l'Université Montesquieu Bordeaux IV in its series Documents de travail with number 158.

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    Length: 28 pages
    Date of creation: Sep 2010
    Handle: RePEc:mon:ceddtr:158
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