What Do Corruption Indices Measure?
Institute for Quantitative Social Science; World Bank Group, International Finance Corporation (IFC), Economics
University of Houston - Department of Economics
August 13, 2009
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.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 45
Date posted: April 23, 2008 ; Last revised: August 18, 2009