How Useful are Perception Indices of Corruption to Developing Countries?

BRISBANE, Australia - April 10, 2018 - PRLog -- In a recent piece published by the IMF, David Fellows Co-principal of PFMConnect suggests that there are limitations to the use of corruption perception indices as a tool to direct the efforts of administrations in the fight against corruption. Whilst acknowledging that perception indices can incentivise governments to tackle corruption he suggests that inherent shortcomings, namely that they are based on impression, personal experience and hearsay rather than hard fact, can also be used to discredit their message.

Fellows draws attention to an alternative approach to the identification of corruption discussed by Mihály Fazekas in a paper "A Comprehensive Review of Objective Corruption Proxies in Public Procurement".  The paper gives an account of recent research into public procurement in which legal, regulatory and administrative records have been analysed to reveal the presence of corruption. Fazekas uses the term 'objective' to refer to data that are based on provable characteristics (e.g., from suppliers and procurement agencies) that can be evaluated using sophisticated statistical techniques.

Fellows considers that simpler methods can also be used to assess objective data and employed, for instance, to identify ill-crafted administrative processes, illicit flows of funds, parties with close and concerning personal connections, the unexplained accumulation of personal wealth and citizens' complaints. He suggests that this could lead to national assessments being made to determine priorities for improving system design and investigating those whose behaviour is of concern.

Fellows is now convinced that the evaluation of objective administrative data should be used to combat corruption in relation to developing countries as well as Europe and North America where current research is being conducted. He concludes on a cautionary note saying that whatever the potential of this approach it will require commitment from national leaders if it is to be effective.

The full article is also carried on the PFMConnect blog at

Note: PFMConnect is a consultancy that supports the development of good standards of public financial management in order to improve public service delivery, extend public accountability, encourage local business development and combat corruption. Its work is principally centred on developing countries, working in cooperation with governments and other stakeholders.

John Leonardo
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Tags:Corruption Perception Indices, Developing Countries, Objective Data
Location:Brisbane - Queensland - Australia
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