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What Do Corruption Indices Measure?

45 Pages Posted: 23 Apr 2008 Last revised: 18 Aug 2009

Dilyan Donchev

Institute for Quantitative Social Science; World Bank Group, International Finance Corporation (IFC), Economics

Gergely Ujhelyi

University of Houston - Department of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: August 13, 2009

Abstract

Evidence from the International Crime Victimization Survey and the World Business Environment Survey suggests that actual corruption experience is a weak predictor of reported corruption perception, and that some of the factors commonly found to “reduce” corruption, such as economic development, democratic institutions or Protestant traditions, systematically bias corruption perception indices downward from corruption experience. In addition, perception indices are influenced by absolute (as opposed to relative) levels of corruption, which tends to penalize large countries, and they exhibit diminishing sensitivity to both absolute and relative corruption, indicating that they may better capture differences among countries with low levels of corruption than among highly corrupt ones. Individual characteristics, such as education, age, income, and employment status are also found to influence corruption perceptions holding experience constant.

Suggested Citation

Dilyan Donchev and Ujhelyi, Gergely, What Do Corruption Indices Measure? (August 13, 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1124066 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1124066

Dilyan Donchev Donchev

Institute for Quantitative Social Science ( email )

1737 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

HOME PAGE: http://people.fas.harvard.edu/~donchev

World Bank Group, International Finance Corporation (IFC), Economics ( email )

2121 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Gergely Ujhelyi (Contact Author)

University of Houston - Department of Economics ( email )

Houston, TX 77204-5882
United States

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