Corruption is a (poisonous) flower that prospers in the dark. Both the act of corruption (in short the granting of an undue advantage in exchange for an improper advantage, the (in)famous quid pro quo) and the fruits of this act are hidden or disguised in order to appear legitimate. This makes it quite difficult to measure corruption even though it is possible to get a general idea of the level of corruption from individual instances where the hydra of corruption has risen its head to the surface of conscious perceptions.
This has led Transparency International to develop what has become its flagship (but by no means its only contribution to combating corruption), the Corruption Perceptions Index or CPI, a list ranking countries according to their perceived level of public sector corruption. The CPI has been the object of criticism and is admittedly an imperfect measure but it is one of the best that can be obtained. The general picture that emerges from it appears to be usually in line with reality even though the precise ranking of a country or, better, its score may be disputed.
There are other indices that can be used to complement TI’s CPI (such as the Worldwide Governance Indicators or the Ease of Doing Business Index of the World Bank) but they are not entirely focused on corruption.
Since May 2019, there is a new instrument to apprehend the corruption risk, the Global Corruption Index (GCI). Although it is published by a commercial organization, it is freely available on a dedicated website at : https://risk-indexes.com
An interesting feature of this new index is that it measures not only public sector (like TI’s CPI) but also private sector corruption and covers 199 countries (vs. 180 for TI’s CPI). It is based on 28 variables, including not only perception but also experience of corruption.
The GCI comes along with another index, the Environmental, Social and Governance Index (ESGI), based on 45 variables and covering 177 countries. The ESGI is designed inter alia to reflect the requirements of the French Law on the Corporate Duty of Diligence for Parent and Instructing Companies.
Dr. Jean-Pierre Méan,
Lawyer qualified in Switzerland and Canada, specializing on corporate governance, compliance and anti-corruption.
He has been involved in the introduction and management of anti-bribery management systems in several multinational corporations and was the first Chief Compliance Officer of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
News article published by :
– Anticorruption Experts , on Oct 15, 2019