Defining and Measuring Corruption

Last Updated: 19 May 2021
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Abuse is a worse description than only a false use as the term misuse of power implies. Albeit both terms have the same result, the term abuse of power implies a stronger illegal aspect and greater harmfulness than just a wrong use of power. Such an abuse of power is particularly expressed through the illegal use of willingness to pay which is a crucial criterion. Furthermore in this definition the benefit solely relies on material, especially monetary, motivation and so it has to be consequently applied on other sorts of motivation.

As we can see in this example it is going to be clear that the amount of money finally tips the scales whether a corrupt person really accepts the bribery or not. This is also easily applicable for the example of a Gestapo officer whose decision depend: on the amount of human lives which has to be high enough before he engages in to the risk. Power in connection with corruption can also be a in a form of a specific position which can be based on trust. This refers to fact that power can often only arise through trust and power needs in most of the cases corrupt persons with a certain position.

So a politician always needs the trust of his citizens to get elected by them to his trustful position of power. (CB. Ephraim 2005) As a result the power term has to be extended on the trust aspect. Marc Philip shows another definition approach which is more technical because he differentiates between the different protagonists in a corruption process more detailed and gathers through listing of exceptions more precisely the overlaps and the exact consequences more appositely while he keeps in mind the above shown compositions. At the starting point in this definition which refers explicitly to the public sector, but is however applicable to the private sectors using slight modifications, is an official  who acts against the norms of his agency and Hereford derogates the public  to obtain a benefit for a third party . Here it is to be declared that the norms of his agency are usually beneficial of the public so that he prefers private benefits for himself more than the social benefits for the community. Cases in that A is equal C seem to be marked through high ran king appointees who are involved in practicing systematic corruption.

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B equal C should be seen as another special case where the corrupted action is limited on the fact that A charges a tax for an advantage of C, while this advantage already legally belongs to C in the first place. Here the fact is important, that some of the worst cases of corruption are those which are not recorded by a specific definition because those tend to be institutionalized into an approved fixed form. Moreover this approach distinguishes between A-initialized and C-initialized corruption, whereas A-initialized corruption does not need necessarily C, while Scintillated corruption however always needs A.

Hence official  and the structure of the affected function are in the centre of corruption, independent whether the official accepts bribes or a third party blackmails. To stretch this approach of political corruption to other sort of corruption is only a change of the protagonist' s names necessary. For example at economic corruption it is more important to focus on the exploitation of the market. The problematic of defining corruption directly affects the measurement of corruption and influences the findings.

While it is quite intuitive to be comprehensive when trying to find a theoretical definition, specifications are more important when it comes to practically measure corruption. Measurement for itself needs a variation which measures according to something constant. The problem when corruption is tried to be measured is that there is no constant state of corruption, I. E. Corruption is regarded differently and there is no normal state of corruption as well as no real absence of corruption. Whatever is going to be measured, will not be measured against a natural standard, but has to be defined strictly.

Therefore specifications of actors, the kind of corruption and the situational factors are crucial for correct measurement. A definition of corruption solely saying corruption is the aggregation of several incidents leads to errors in measurement, e. G. Taking the relative frequency of an incident, e. . Bribery, as a measure leads to an error in the findings as a country can be far more corrupt than another even though there might be no bribery at all but several other occurrences of corrupt actions.  Corruption happens in secrecy and only a small part of it happens openly.

Unfortunately, it is only possible to record this small known part thus the measurement of corruption is quite limited. Theoretically it is possible to measure corruption in different ways; first of all direct and focusing on experiences, secondly analyzing perceptions, thirdly using proxies and earthly applying more quantitative methods. The direct measurement of corruption is only possible by registered crimes. Looking at the amount of crimes it is not possible to determine whether corruption is not widespread or if the anti-corruption provisions are just effective in their function. Landforms 2006) Studies about crimes are more focusing on questioning about experiences. For example, the International Crime Survey asks first of all about perceptions and then directly about experiences. The answers show big differences between the interviewees' subjective perceptions and experiences. Less than 2% in Italy and Great Britain have experience with corruption but the opinion about corruption in the public sector shows that it occurs about 15% in Italy and 7% in Great Britain. (Miller 2006) This difference shows that individual or statistical perceptions are not 100% trustful.

Perceptions can be blurred through cultural settings and country- specific peculiarities. Also the coverage about corruption blurs the perceptions, because corrupt persons on a high governmental level are mostly able to manipulate reports. (Miller 2006) Furthermore people notice probably phenomena because of the disability f heuristic more often when there are more reports about them in the media. So it is possible that signs which are based on perceptions like Transparency Internationally Corruption Perception Index and their influential public relations lead to a self-created bias in their measurements.

Perceptions can also directly affect corruption when for example the population acts differently if they think their courts and police are corrupt or not. However, the measurement of perceptions is often the only probate way to evaluate corruption. Cultural settings influence the definition of corruption but in practice it can be seen hat those differences do not have a big influence on the perception. For example the correlation is really high between perception of corruption in studies across the abutters of countries and the results of commercial agencies which evaluate the risk and development banks.

Most of the studies and signs are based on surveys Of perception Of experts and individual protagonists in corrupt systems. The third method of measuring corruption is based on the assumption that corruption is determined by the presence or absence of specific measurable factors. The problem of this approach is that proxies are only opinions about notations of corruption and not about the corruption itself. Only the existence of the possibility of corruption means that there is in fact corruption. Glissando's formula "corruption = monopoly position + closeness - duty of integrity" is one proxy based approach to measure corruption.

Glissando's model manifests three problems. First of all it claims that there is no integrity and everyone that has the possibility to be corrupt, is corrupt. Secondly, systems or protagonists are corrupt as soon as there is no perfect duty of integrity and it is expected that the duty of integrity cannot be corrupt. Thirdly, the formula implies a western way to organism political systems. This approach is described in the Transparency Internationally National Integrity System based on Egalitarian. The generalization and comparison of political systems is problematic because even western systems are very different to each Other. Philip 2006) Alternative ways have a more quantitative character which include more specific research methods. Those define the different sorts of corruption more exactly and consider the conditions under which they arise. The comparison between countries is based on an analysis between those entries instead of comparative signs. As a result of this it is possible to compare the police device of single countries without taking care about the political history.

Furthermore the protagonists try to falsify or dissemble data which implies using many different sources and methods in order to obtain reliable data. Apart from secondary analysis of already available sources and investigations of institutions in different countries there are several possibilities to collect data. Surveys about the perception, evaluation and experience with corruption among the public are the most used tool as these data can be classified into subjective (evaluation, experience, perception) and objective (number of incidents).

It is important to check the representatives of the survey participants as most people do not get in contact with corruption on high level, but mostly on a low level, e. G. Bribing policemen. Such focus groups can be used for a qualitative predestination, on which further investigations rely. These groups can provide more detailed data about the reasons and the impact of different kinds of corruption than broad surveys. Also they can be used as an instrument for the development of solutions. Case studies can be quantitative or qualitative as they can explain specific incidents or be part of greater investigations.

Using these data it is possible to give statements about the process of corruption as well as progress of anti- corruption provisions. Field enquiries are another tool which provides highly specific findings even over a longer time period. Observers can take an investigative role of a judge as they are able to collect data about certain asses of corruption. (Miller 2006) In higher developed countries expert opinions are furnished which concern different areas of corruption, e. G. The health care system or legislative.

These expert opinions can provide findings about which mechanisms of anti-corruption provisions are working in which area. Comparing these expert opinions it is possible to explain weaknesses of different provisions. 2. 24 Analysis of data using indexes Indexes allow aggregating and evaluating data. The dimensions of corruption regarded in one index construct the feature space of the index and therefore fine the amount of information this index can provide. Unfortunately, there are no objective criteria that all relevant data are considered or that the considered data are really relevant.  Different indexes from governmental or non-governmental institutions serve the different goals of the sponsors to present different views about the occurrence and spreading of corruption. Therefore it is important to take in account which institution published which index and which part of corruption is observed. The Corruption Perception Index (ICP) provided by Transparency International measures the public perception of corruption in 1 77 countries. This index measures the perception, spreading and visibility of corruption. Since 2013 the ICP relies on 13 different independently aggregated sources of data.

In the years before it was not possible to compare the ICP from different years as it was computed relatively to other countries. Since 2012, only raw data and the latest available data are used which enables a comparison over time. Changing his "modus operandi", Transparency International responded to critics from scientists. (Gallant 2006) The ICP is he most common index but yet it is not without controversy. The methodology Of the ICP falls into four categories: Firstly, the data have to quantify perceptions in different countries equally using reliable and valid methods.

All sources see corruption as misuse of power for personal gain. The investigations have to be repeated often enough to guarantee a high enough variation in order to obtain reliable findings. Secondly, the data is standardized on a scale from 1-100. Thirdly, data from the different sources are averaged. A country can only be included in the ICP if there are at least three independent sources of data. The ICP finally is an estimated and averaged value of all available sources. Fourthly, using the variation, the standard derivation of a country is obtained which can help to check the statistical significance.

The data on which perception-indexes rely are simple ordinal-scaled measurements; taking this into account, the method of scaling used in the ICP is totally sufficient. Here however it gets obvious that the problem lies within the collection of data. A solution for this problem is the use of multidimensional approaches to measure corruption as done in the World Wide Governance Indicator. Latest studies concerning the ICP however show that the ICP provides quite reliable data as well as it is possible to compare different countries using the ICP.

Some suggestions for the ICP include the use of at least six different sources Of data as well as an adaptation of the standard error for countries with smaller population. Even though the ICP is statistically significant, the findings have to be handled with care. The main remaining problem is the one- sidedness towards the public sector. (Miller 2006) The World Wide Governance Indicator issued by the World Bank measures he quality of governments using objective data, expert opinions and surveys.

The index relies on six dimensions, which are firstly "voice and accountability' of political freedom rights, the opportunity to take part in politics and freedom of opinion, secondly the perceptions of political stability and the absence of politically motivated violence and terrorism, thirdly the perceptions of effectiveness of the government and the quality of their political actions, fourthly the regulative capabilities of the government to pursue reasonable political actions helping the development of private enterprises, fifthly constitutional legality and sixthly control of corruption.

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Defining and Measuring Corruption. (2018, May 03). Retrieved from

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