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Measuring Governance Using Cross-Country Perceptions Data

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  • Kaufmann, Daniel
  • Kraay, Aart
  • Mastruzzi, Massimo

Abstract

This paper describes an ongoing project to measure governance using crosscountry perceptions data. The governance indicators measure six dimensions of governance and cover 209 countries and territories for 1996-2004. They are based on several hundred individual variables measuring perceptions of governance, drawn from 37 separate data sources constructed by 31 different organizations. We present the estimates of governance, and the margins of error capturing the range of likely values for each country. We show how these margins of error should be taken into account when considering cross-country differences and changes over time in governance. We find that in a number of countries the quality of governance improved significantly in the short term. Yet deteriorations also took place in some other countries, while in many there was little change. There has been no worldwide improvement in governance on average. We argue that perceptions-based data provide valuable insights relative to objective data on governance, and that individual objective measures of governance provide an incomplete picture of even the quite particular dimensions of governance that they are intended to measure. We also show that margins of error are not unique to perceptions based measures of governance, but are an important feature of all efforts to measure governance, including objective indicators. We also empirically investigate the importance of ideological biases in expert assessments of corruption and find little evidence that they are present. Governance indicators and per capita incomes are highly correlated across countries. Recent research shows that this correlation captures an important causal effect running from measures of governance such as these to per capita incomes. Critics of this view argue that the correlation captures substantial reverse causation from incomes to governance, and is tainted by "halo effects" where rich countries receive good ratings simply because they are rich. We review available evidence on these two critiques and find it to be lacking.

Suggested Citation

  • Kaufmann, Daniel & Kraay, Aart & Mastruzzi, Massimo, 2005. "Measuring Governance Using Cross-Country Perceptions Data," MPRA Paper 8219, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:8219
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    Cited by:

    1. Elizabeth Asiedu & James Freeman, 2009. "The Effect of Corruption on Investment Growth: Evidence from Firms in Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Transition Countries ," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(2), pages 200-214, May.
    2. Son, Hyun H. & Kakwani, Nanak, 2008. "Global Estimates of Pro-Poor Growth," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(6), pages 1048-1066, June.
    3. Kasekende, Elizabeth & Abuka, Charles & Sarr, Mare, 2016. "Extractive industries and corruption: Investigating the effectiveness of EITI as a scrutiny mechanism," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 117-128.
    4. Nadia Doytch & Mesut Eren, 2012. "Institutional Determinants of Sectoral FDI in Eastern European and Central Asian Countries: The Role of Investment Climate and Democracy," Emerging Markets Finance and Trade, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 48(S4), pages 14-32, November.
    5. Evgeni Peev, 2015. "Institutions, economic liberalization and firm growth: evidence from European transition economies," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 40(1), pages 149-174, August.
    6. Hyun H. Son & Nanak Kakwani, 2006. "Global Estimates of Pro-Poor Growth," Working Papers 31, International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth.
    7. J.W. Fedderke & I. Lourenco & F. Gwenhamo, 2011. "Alternative indices of political freedoms, property rights, and political instability for Zambia," Working Papers 207, Economic Research Southern Africa.
    8. Mireille Razafindrakoto & François Roubaud, 2015. "The Governance, Peace and Security modules of the Strategy for the Harmonisation of Statistics in Africa (GPS-SHaSA): development of an innovative statistical survey methodology," Working Papers DT/2015/20, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
    9. Nadia Doytch & Mesut Eren, 2012. "Institutional Determinants of Sectoral FDI in Eastern European and Central Asian Countries: The Role of Investment Climate and Democracy," Emerging Markets Finance and Trade, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 48(S4), pages 14-32, November.
    10. Siddiqi, Sameen & Masud, Tayyeb I. & Nishtar, Sania & Peters, David H. & Sabri, Belgacem & Bile, Khalif M. & Jama, Mohamed A., 2009. "Framework for assessing governance of the health system in developing countries: Gateway to good governance," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 90(1), pages 13-25, April.
    11. repec:eee:intfin:v:53:y:2018:i:c:p:76-93 is not listed on IDEAS

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    JEL classification:

    • H0 - Public Economics - - General

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