Transparency International's index measures perceptions of corruption and relies heavily on the opinions of a small group of experts and business people.
Corruption is one of the most important challenges for developed and developing nations alike. It is part of the wider problem of (lack of) ethics in politics. As citizens have less trust in government institutions, transparency, open government and fighting corruption are necessary. Governments are increasingly regulating ethics in public life. Yet to fight corruption we need to understand it and measure it properly. Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) has quickly gained popularity since it was first launched in 1995. Today it is the most widely used indicator of corruption worldwide. However there is much controversy among academics and practitioners about the validity of its findings. One of the main criticisms concerns its "elite bias" and the fact that it does only measures perceptions about corruption. The CPI is build by aggregating the opinions of a relatively small group of experts and business people in each country (1). Others, for instance The Economist, criticize that a complex issue such as corruption should not be simplified to a single number on a scale, as the CPI does. There are doubts about the CPI's capacity to reflect the "real level of corruption" in societies. However this index is has also proved a very good instrument to establish comparisons across time and countries. Moreover very strong significant correlation has been found between the CPI and two other proxies for corruption: Black Market activity and overabundance of regulation (2).
Is Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index still valid? Do you think we should keep on using the CPI or focus on a different one?
(1) Transparency International, Corruption Perceptions Index Overview http://www.transparency.org/research/cpi/overview
(2) Wilhelm, Paul G. (2002). "International Validation of the Corruption Perceptions Index: Implications for Business Ethics and Entrepreneurship Education". Journal of Business Ethics (Springer Netherlands) 35 (3): 177–189.
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Is Transparency International's index (CPI) a valid measure of corruption?
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