Putting Corruption Measuring Tools Into Perspective Essay Sample

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Corruption, Crime, Social Issues, Information, Measure, Strategy, Public, Validity

Pages: 9

Words: 2475

Published: 2020/12/04

Putting Corruption Measuring Tools into Perspective

Arguments revolving around the quality and the effectiveness of measuring corruption may convince one that it is quite hard and even impossible to measure corruption. They all argue that the science of measuring corruption is simply just an art and is not based on empirical process. From a variety of quarters, there have been efforts to try and challenge the validity of traditional tools and postulate new techniques that are improved. Is it really possible for one to measure corruption? And if that is possible then how can one do it. This article argues that it is possible to measure corruption and proposes some of the effective ways that can be used to measure corruption. The most important thing people using corruption measuring tool need to be aware of is that they should employ multiple quantitative sources of data, real-time source, analysis and qualitative strategies in order to paint a clear picture of corruption in a country. It is important to note that there is no single tool that can just give an accurate result, but rather it requires the incorporation of various sources and even at times generating new tools. It is only in this way that one can get accurate information on these tools. As well, there is need that the tools used are geared towards providing the solution to the problem. It is no use to measure corruption yet there are no strategies that one presents that can provide a solution. For instance, using strategies such bribery are broad and do not in any way provide a concrete solution to the problem. But using tools that are customized to the problems in a particular country go a long way in generating an actionable data. Ideally, it is possible to measure corruption using tools that can provide the relevant solution to the countries’ problems.Strategies for measuring corruption The numbers of strategies that are used to measure good governance and corruption have increased over the past few decades. These strategies range for the established and widely used strategies to local and internal mechanisms developed by nations to cater for their problems. Among the widely used strategies include transparency internal, corruption perceptions index, World Banks’s Worldwide Governance Indicator, and many others. These are just some of the many ways of measuring corruption, but as well there are other new strategies. These include the Global Integrity Index, global integrity report, Ibrahim Index of African governance. While these tools have been multiplying over the years, they measure different thing despite there being similarities in their titles.Measuring corruption is a process that requires that one realizes and identify the type of corruption being measured. Different measurement tools will apply to different and specific cases of corruption. At this point, it is important to analyze the various types of corruption and analyzing which tool is effective for a particular case. With such an analysis, it is easier to find out if the tool is effective and workable in that specific case.Petty and grand corruption Ideally, this is the most elaborate way of putting corruption in specific groups. Petty corruption is the normal day or rather street level corruption. Such kinds of corruption occur when normal citizens interact with low or even middle-level public officials. Such official can be in the hospital, police departments, schools, burocratic agencies and other governmental offices. The scale of monetary exchange in such places always disadvantages the poor. Contrasting to this, grand corruption often referred to as political corruption is the kind that involves big sums of funds. Such kinds of corruption have deep and adverse effects on the country and even the legitimacy of the government at the national level. The most commonly used strategy to access petty corruption cases is the use of household questionnaires. One of the institutions that are commonly used to carry out household questionnaire is the Development Institutions et Analyses de Long term (DIAL). This institution has been quite instrumental in carrying out surveys on governance and democracy, and one of the methods it uses especially for developing countries is surveys. Transparency Internationals Global Barometer is another robust strategy used to carry out household surveys on people’s perception and experiences of corruption. As well, there are other trackers that carry out the household survey to bring out the cases of corruption, governance, and democracy. Such focus group carry out their surveys either regional or locally and include Afro-barometer, Latino-barometer, Asian-barometer, and Euro-barometer. Their major concerns are to get the public opinion on issues that revolve around governance and especially corruption. Looking at how these strategies are used to gather data for con corruption one can clearly see that there is validity in it.Grand corruption To assess the level of grand corruption in the government institution, one can easily consult the World Bank’s Global Competitiveness report. Such reports show the case of corruption such as the party financing oversight, conflict of interests, and judiciary accountability. One thing that makes it even hard to assess cases of grand corruption is that there is no consensus on the meaning of corruption. This is what imposes a blur on the international rankings of corruption.The private sector Corruption does not only occur in the public institutions but also in the private sector. Most of the tools of measuring corruption are only focused on the public sector, and very few tools are focused on the private sector. In the private sector, corruption comes about when actors bribe public officials, high ranking politician or civil servant so that they extort the business. Though there are few tools to assess these cases, one of the most used is the Transparency International Bribe Payers Index (BPI). This group analyzes the likelihood of foreign firms paying bribes. Most of the data from these institutions demonstrates that corruption is one of the major obstacles to enterprises conducting business. There also other measurement tools such as the Business Environment and the Enterprise Performance Surveys. These groups compare the investment climate governance and competitiveness in specific areas in a country.Corruption in post-conflict regions Countries that are just emerging from conflict or those that are just emerging from emergencies are more prone to corruption. Such countries always face the challenges of weak states, poor oversight and the lack of the rule of law. Such states create the perfect environment for corruption to thrive. In such cases, corruption occurs in agencies and reconstruction programs whose main aim is to help the citizens. Those that have access to the resources in such cases take advantage of the lack of oversight to embezzle public resources and use them for their private interest. At the same time, those that need the resources and are not in control of them can simply find a way to muzzle through and find the resources. In such case, the most effective tool to measure corruption should be one that tracks procurement and public budget expenditure. One of such tools is the public expenditure tracking surveys (PETS). Another important tool that should be explored is the one that tracks how the public officials or high-ranking officials are vulnerable to instances of corruption.
When one is assessing the validity of the method used in a research, the major things that are considered are the design and the method used. In this case, the data that one is collecting should truly reflect the exact phenomenon on research. Validity indicates how sound the research you are carrying out is. Validity can be measured both in the external and the external perspective. Internal validity is always affected by the flaws in the study itself. This comes in when some of the major variables with the research instruments are not considered. On the other hand, external validity looks at how the findings can be generalized to a large group. Considering the methodology and the designs that are used by the groups that carry out research on petty corruption, there is evidence to show that the methods are valid. As such one can argue that this methodology can provide data that is valid and the kind that can be generalized to larger group. Apart from the validity, reliability is an important thing to consider when analyzing the strategies used to collect or measure corruption. Reliability is when the measurement provides consistent data after various researches. Reliability ideally means that the data is trustworthy and dependable. Thinking about dependable data brings in the concept of validity into the data. This is to say that reliable data should have validity in it. You cannot separate the reliability of data with its dependability. If the data you are providing is dependable then it means that the tools used to get the data and the methodologies used can provide valid data. Such is the case when we analyze data from measuring tools such as the Transparency International. They use household surveys and as an empirical research method.Such method can provide dependable data.Dependability of tools of measuring corruption An expert and a generalized look at all these forms of assessing corruption can built a broader picture of whether this method provide valid reliable and replicable data on corruption. The strength in a particular method of getting data lies in its ability to demonstrate the incidences of corrupt behavior encountered among the users of government services. Whether the method relies on household surveys of firm survey, its validity lies in providing relevant and valid information. Household surveys at most times emphasize on administrative corruption while firm surveys can measure and bring out aspects of corruption at the state level. Such happens when the survey includes questions about the improper influence over laws that regulate business. However, these surveys are limited when it comes to getting data on corruption incidences that occur within the state. Such examples are when politicians bribe burocrats or in cases that funds are diverted illegally. As well, firm survey fails to highlight issues of conflict of interest (World Bank). Ideally, there are more advantages of using firm survey than household surveys. Household surveys are usually well structured than firm surveys, and this only means that they can provide more reliable data. The difference in the kind of information provided by various tools of measuring corruption makes it necessary for one to use a variety of tools when assessing corruption. It is important to note also that expert assessments of corruption by the various commercial and other organization that are used to measure corruption differ in quite a number of ways. First they might differ in degree of which the assessments are centralized. Secondly the assessment may differ on the documentation that they provide regarding definition and methods (Sfo.gov.uk, 2015). In this case, one body might provide more details on its assessment criteria and methodology while the other might have very little information on such. Considering these facts makes it important that any methodology that one chooses to use is fused with ideas from the other methodologies. As one methodology might be good in providing particular information, at times it might not be able to provide some other information. It is thus important that when choosing to use a particular tool you look for an alternative that can provide more data when the method you are using fails (Trochim, 2015).Corruption indicators The first thing to being able to measure corruption is by analyzing the different indicators to corruption. The fact that different measures will apply in different environments requires that the one using the tools take a close look at the indicators to get a picture of the right tool to use. Ideally there are four major categories that need to be explored when measuring corruption. These are;

The scope and scale of indicators

What are the actual issues being measured
The methodology to be used
The role that external and internal stakeholders play in generating the assessments
When assessing corruption in any particular environment the first things one always looks at are the sources or corruption indicators. Though there are various forms of indicators, one needs first to be aware of the variation in these indicators. Understanding the variation will make it easy for anyone to analyze the data they get from the measurement with the preciseness and accuracy that it requires. First, indicators of corruption may differ in their ways of assessing the relative incident of corrupt transaction, the impact of corruption on a particular business, and the existence of laws and policies and how they enforced to curb some practices. Secondly there might substantive be difference in the audiences of the sources corruption indicators. While others might be based ideally on advocacy and NGOs others might be based on multinational investors and paid subscribers. This has a net effect of the potential implication of exactly what their ratings are measuring. Thirdly there is a difference between the conceptual breaths of each corruption indicator. There some those that have more dimensions while other have less. When one is choosing an indicator, they should select those that have broader aspects (Swamy et al.). Lastly, corruption indicators differ in their ability to measure the changes over time. Having this in mind is important because it gives one a perspective on the best indicator to choose. It helps one to collect valid and dependable data on corruption.
Though there are just many indicators to corruption most of the ones that one can easily note include the abnormal payment of cash, pressure to have payments made urgently or ahead of the schedule, using third parties to make payment and abnormal commission percentages being used. Other indicators include private meetings with companies official or public contractors, an individual that cannot take an off even when they are sick or insist on dealing with specific clients only, abuse of delegated power or the decision process. There are just many other indicators, and this list is not just exhaustive enough (Kaufmann, n.d.).

Corruption indices

An elaborate measure of corruption will always require that on constructs a single corruption index from multiple sources. One should make sure that all the distinct corruption indicators emphasize on a substantive content. One should be able to narrow the various indicators to one purpose. That is to say, if you have various indicators you should be able to narrow the definition of these indicators to give you one index. For instance, you might have a number of indicators from one source, but you make sure that the resulting interaction between these indicators in your index reflects the corruption of firms and the public officials. Secondly, when doing the measurement you could be able to reduce the errors. Because different sources have differing magnitude of difficulties a tool might be highly inaccurate. However in the case where errors in the measurements are independent then the error might cancel out during the process of aggravating the sources. It is for this reason that one is required not to use on tool for measuring corruption, but an aggravate of various sources (Knack, 2007).
It is important to understand that though there are many sources and tools that can be used in measuring corruption, it is important that the toll one opts to use provides solution to the problem being measured. As well, there are various things that should be considered when selecting a tool to measure corruption. Most importantly one should be alive to the fact that there are many indicators of corruption but none of them is effective in providing data on corruption. It then requires to be creative and use an aggravate of these sources so that they can get data that is wholesome and accurate. The same this applies to the tools you use to analyze corruption. Not even one of them is accurate with it on, and that is the reason you need to sue multiple sources.


Kaufmann, D. n.d.. Myths and Realities of Governance and Corruption.SSRN Journal.
Knack, S. 2007.Measuring Corruption: A Critique of Indicators in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.Journal of Public Policy, 27(03).
Linguistics.byu.edu, 2015.Research Methods: Planning: Validity. [online] Available at: http://linguistics.byu.edu/faculty/henrichsenl/ResearchMethods/RM_2_18.html [Accessed 2 Mar. 2015].
Malito, D. (n.d.). Measuring Corruption Indicators and Indices.SSRN Journal.
Sfo.gov.uk, 2015.Corruption indicators Bribery & Corruption | SFO - Serious Fraud Office. [online] Available at: http://www.sfo.gov.uk/bribery--corruption/corruption-indicators.aspx [Accessed 2 Mar. 2015].
Socialresearchmethods.net, 2015.Theory of Reliability. [online] Available at: http://www.socialresearchmethods.net/kb/reliablt.php [Accessed 2 Mar. 2015].
Swamy, A., Knack, S., Lee, Y. and Azfar, O. 2001.Gender and corruption.Journal of Development Economics, 64(1), pp.25-55.
Transparency.org.uk, 2015.MEASURING CORRUPTION. [online] Available at: http://www.transparency.org.uk/corruption/measuring-corruption [Accessed 2 Mar. 2015].
Trochim, W. 2015.Theory of Reliability. [online] Socialresearchmethods.net. Available at: http://www.socialresearchmethods.net/kb/reliablt.php [Accessed 2 Mar. 2015].
World Bank 2000. Anticorruption in Transition: a Contribution to the Policy Debate. Washington DC: WorldBank.

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