Numbers and US

Story that numbers tell us

CPI : Corruption Perceptions Index

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Transparency International (TI), a civil society organization, comes out with a less famous CPI every year. Compared to the popular one ,Consumer Price Index , this CPI – Corruption Perception Index-  is more subjective. While the calculation methodology of Consumer Price Index seems intuitive to even an uninitiated, the methodology for Corruption Perception Index raises few questions to an inquisitive mind.

The first observation that has to be made is that this is Corruption Perception Index. It’s a perception. So while keeping in mind that this is a perception –  a subjective index – we must ask, How TI tries to make the composite index as objective as possible.

CPI, for the purpose, is defined as abuse of public office for private gain. It’s a composite index. The CPI 2008 draws on 13 different polls and surveys from 11 independent institutions.  All institutions provide ranking  and overall extent of corruption of countries they operate on.  The definition of corruption being same as defined above, and survey excludes cases such as political instability and nationalism.

CPI 2008

Sources of Data

TI receives score of corruption from all surveying institution. All survey result providers are not considered at par. While data compiled by African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, CIPA are taken as it is, as they regularly analyze a country’s performance, crosschecking it with peers; the data compiled from IMD and PERC are averaged out with last year to reduce abrupt variation in scoring from random effects.

Type of questions

ADB, AFDB, CPIA by World bank ask for ineffective audits, conflict of interest, policies being manipulated by corruption on a scale of 1(bad) to 6(good) . BTI asks question such as to what extent Government can contain corruption or to what extent public is tolerant to official corruption. Likewise all surveys compiles data on extent of corruption on some scale.

Sample Design

While all sources provides data on extent of corruption, the sample design varies from institution to institution. For ADB and AFDB sample is foreigners having business experience in local country to avoid home-country-bias. IMD, PERC asks question from local residents or expatriates.

Now one may raise concern that there may be a problem of circularity, that is previous year score might affect respondent response.  TI tested this hypothesis in year 2006, and it was found to be not true.

Standardization of data


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Written by SK

July 28, 2009 at 5:52 pm

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