The Anticorruption Monitor
2021 was a banal year in terms of developments, far from the landmark year for anti-corruption expected by some (civil society should know by now that it’s not international summits which change countries, be they UN or whatever, as the magic revolutions from outside just do not work). But it was not a banal year in terms of corruption indicators. The exposure of pressures on the otherwise very useful and influential Doing Business of the World Bank opened the door to the shadow reality of gaming and pressuring around governance indicators, which does not affect the World Bank alone (at least, judging by the performance on Judicial Independence in the World Economic Forum survey of the same problematic countries).
But as the saying goes, what does not kill you makes you stronger. At ERCAS we had already started to work to build not only a new actionable indicator but also a new standard of transparency of governance indicators. This was our T-index, which you can see still on this webpage. This shall move in 2022 on the new www.corruptionrisk.org where we plan to gather all our data on integrity and transparency, now on different webpages, for about 130 countries, and where feedback forms will exist for every score and every reference so that the website users become also contributors and reviewers.
It is in the same transparency index that we found the resources to replace the two Doing Business components which had been, and for good reason, components of the IPI since its creation: Administrative Burden (time to register a business and pay taxes) and Trade Openness (time and cost to import-export). The computer-mediated transparency index that we developed has several items covering transparency and accountability. A group of them correlates more closely with the other four IPI components, showing that they measure the same latent variable that IPI also does – control of corruption. This is a fraction of the T-index that we baptized Administrative Transparency, and which includes direct, observation-based measurements of accessibility and coverage of e-public procurement portals, commerce registers, land cadasters and national auditors’ reports. Together with the second addition, the Online Services Index from the UN E-government survey, former DB components were replaced successfully, so that the new IPI has as good an internal consistency as the old one, with which it correlates closely (0.95). The new website will update all the validation tests that we did and the methodological details. And yes, even if our T-index is based on our direct observations and can be checked by you simply on clicking on the websites it makes just a sixth of the index, so we maintained the decision to exclude the countries involved in the DB scandal – China, Saudi Arabia and Azerbaijan.