19 Dec 2021
New 2021 IPI data shows Moldova and Argentina among the few achievers2021 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.
21 Sep 2021
The Doing Business Gate: Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwaterIt’s been quite a few years now that I have been teaching hundreds of students on the limitations of governance indicators, especially the ‘big data’ ones. As someone who was educated first as a scientist and only later as a social scientist, I have never quite felt comfortable with data that I did not collect […]
15 Jun 2021
European public accountability trends now updated!The European Union is the absolute achiever on standards and benchmarks. Thousands exist and are strictly guarded by various enforcement agencies: some inspired anecdotes and were furiously disputed over the Brexit divorce. Less spoken about are EU standards on public accountability, despite having now a Rule of Law (ROL) Report on the member states and monitoring processes for accession countries. There is a very simple reason for this: they do not exist as such. While we uphold a Europe of rule of law and free of corruption as ideals for member states and aspiring countries, we do not actually have a standard way of achieving those, or clear European benchmarks. Finland and Denmark are quite unregulated on public accountability but extraordinarily transparent, and they lead in all good governance charts. Hungary and Poland have been backsliding on both rule of law and democracy but their legal arrangements are quite thick. In some areas, at least.
29 Mar 2021
Real versus Legal: A Tale of Two TransparenciesAlthough nobody has ever argued that transparency is a panacea for corruption, the international anti-corruption movement has long invested in transparency with the goal to deter corruption. Seeing the explosive development of transparency in many forms one would expect that control of corruption improves. Still, as discussed at length in this working paper of ours, control of corruption lags with nearly no significant progress since the advances made by Georgia, South Korea, or Costa Rica nearly two decades ago. So which one is it? Transparency is not enough or there is not enough transparency to deter corruption? An answer to these questions has been seriously hindered so far by lack of data. We do not have a measurement of transparency, although various types of it do get measured (e.g. fiscal transparency). We do have some proxies and indirect measurements for corruption. Now presuming we can measure both at the national level we can start having some answers.
09 Feb 2021
EU Rule of Law Report Captive on its TracksThe European Commission is already planning a second rule of law report, although the first brought no further evidence to the already known problems of Hungary or Poland, and only showed the weakness of conceptualization and methodology at this stage. The German presidency made the concession to Hungary and Poland that Courts will have the first say in the event of a sanction. While critics were fast to denounce Merkel to have yielded to the populists, the most elementary legal common sense shows that Courts would have anyway got involved. Is it not better, then, to have them involved sooner rather than later? If we want to cut EU funds, we need to use the public procurement policy and its very good monitoring by another part of the Commission (in the EU Single Market PP Scoreboard). Member states who do not reach targets there are the same who infringe on rule of law: Hungary, Poland, Romania, Malta, Czech Republic.
14 Oct 2020
The EU Rule of Law Report: Unresolved Questions and a ProposalThe EU has chastised member states who do not adhere to its professed values. However, the new report about the rule of law falls short in providing the objective basis to withhold funding to those who defy democracy, a just goal still lacking the proper means. EU funds should be cut on direct and easier to prove criteria related to their poor governance, as shown in the EU Single Market procurement scoreboard. Recovery funds should not go to the political clienteles of government parties trespassing on rule of law, but to the broader constituencies of citizens and businesses in every member state. -- This article is a version of a comment published under Carnegie's Reshaping European Democracy project --
04 Aug 2020
Will the current crisis enable better governance, or hinder it?The forecast of good governance on this page, the first one ever of its kind, has come out at the very beginnings of an unprecedented destabilizing crisis for this century. It is fair to ask oneself therefore how the prognoses here will be affected. The first amendment to the forecast is that the more political violence grows, the less positive predictions come true and more countries come under threat of losing what they have acquired, the good governance fundamentals: freedom of thought, equality before the law and the capacity to mediate between different interests through debate and limited terms popularly elected office. The second amendment refers to the important role of technology. Research has shown that social media algorithms promote aggressivity online because it sells more advertising. While we are very proud to live in an era on unprecedented technological development we see daily that this does little to deter people from endorsing identity politics, and the resulting collectivism and intergroup conflict.
20 May 2020
Predicting Governance Evolutions.Why is there so little evolution in governance, and the trend lines across continents and income groups have looked so depressively flat for the past 20 years? Well, because indicators are poor, some would say, as governance indicators are statistical aggregates which normalize individual components that they throw into an index- and therefore what little […]
16 Apr 2020
The Good Governance of the Corona CrisisThe years since 1989, the previous threshold crossed by the contemporary world have seen unprecedented stress on good governance, with the adoption of international conventions and treaties, disclosures like Panama Papers and spectacular enforcement of the older American Foreign Corrupt Practice Act. But during this interval the world largely stagnated on the quality of governance. […]
23 Aug 2016
Budget transparency – more complex than you’d thinkWhen talking anti-corruption, the most common buzzwords flung around by civil society activists, researchers and development professionals alike are transparency and accountability. Transparency is seen as so key to the fight against corruption that its arguably most important advocate took it as part of its name: Transparency International. It should thus not come as a […]
25 Jul 2016
EU Aid to Turkey – Money well spent?In the ten-year period between 2005 and 2014 alone, EU institutions sent the equivalent of 13.7 billion dollars in aid payments to Turkey. 1.5 billion dollars were directy aimed at improving government and civil society institutions. In the light of the continuing campaign to undermine democratic institutions we have to ask the question if this is money well spent or if it is time for a rethink in EU-Turkey relations.
25 Jul 2016
So far, democracy has not won in TurkeyEuropeans were quick to defend Turkey’s constitutional order after the abortive coup, writes Alina Mungiu-Pippidi, but have done little to combat President Erdogan’s own subversion of this order.
15 Jun 2016
Evidence on Anti-Corruption: From Research to Policy-MakingBuilding the evidence-base for anti-corruption reforms means to not only research the issues, but make sure they have an impact on plicy as well. For our team the months of April and May thus meant a lot of travelling. They presented our research at several high-profile events, including the OCED, Bruegel, the EU and others. Read about some of the events that they attended.
13 May 2016
Can we really speak about corrupt countries?Corruption researcher Alina Mungiu-Pippidi challenges the politically correct view of Cameron’s anti-corruption summit
04 May 2016
ANTICORRP Launches New Index of Public IntegrityThe Index of Public Integrity (IPI) offers the first objective measurement of integrity.
05 Apr 2016
ERCAS Congratulates Martin MendelskiERCAS congratulates Dr. Martin Mendelski, a member of the EU FP7 ANTICORRP project and affiliate of ERCAS partner Romanian Academic Society (SAR): He was awarded the “THESEUS Award for Promising Research on European Integration” for his PhD thesis entitled “The Limits of the European Union’s Transformative Power: Pathologies of Europeanization and Rule of Law Reform […]
25 Feb 2016
Alina Mungiu-Pippidi Launches “The Quest for Good Governance”Alina Mungiu-Pippidi launched her book “The Quest for Good Governance: How Societies Develop Control of Corruption” at the Hertie School of Governance last week. She was joined by a distinguished panel of speakers to discuss her work: Gunnar Folke Schuppert (Berlin Social Science Centre (WZB)), Finn Heinrich (Transparency International) and Janine R. Wedel (George Mason […]
28 Jan 2016
Corruption Perception: how can we improve corruption measurements?Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index (CPI) is still the flagship publication of the growing anti-corruption community. While it plays a pivotal role in raising public awareness of the magnitude and the spread of corruption, we have to look beyond the CPI to construct indices using objective data on corruption. Researchers at ERCAS are working on such tools that are meant to inform the policy community on how to prevent corruption effectively.
21 Jan 2016
Levels of Public Integrity Show Multi-speed EuropeA New ranking of public integrity in the European Union Member States shows Finland leading and Bulgaria lagging behind.
09 Dec 2015
If FIFA were a country…The investigations against corrupt officials of the World Football Association (FIFA) show that often international organisations and associations behave like countries. Unchecked power and the availability of public resources, combined with a lack of public accountability and oversight is likely to give birth to corruption. Consequently, the means to control corruption in international football are also very similar.
23 Nov 2015
Digital Whistleblowing. Blessing or Curse?On 17 November 2015 the Hertie School of Governance and the Council of Europe hosted a discussion on nature of whistleblowing in the digital age. A set of panelists with different backgrounds and experiences discussed what makes a whistleblower in the digital age and what function they have in today's societies. The event was a satellite event to the World Forum for Democracy, taking place at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg 18 – 21 November 2015.
23 Oct 2015
Curbing Corruption: Ideas that WorkThe Legatum Institute launched a new collection of successful anti-corruption case studies. The series titled “Curbing Corruption: Ideas that Work” is published jointly by the Legatum Institute and Democracy Lab. It presents a wide range of case studies illustrating what does and what doesn’t work in the field of anti-corruption. The study wants to stimulate […]
13 Oct 2015
The Quest for Good Governance: How Societies Develop Control of CorruptionAlina Mungiu-Pippidi's 'The Quest for Good Governance,' published with Cambridge University Press, is available from September 2015. This book is about how societies reach that point when integrity becomes the norm and corruption the exception in regard to how public affairs are run and public resources are allocated.
01 Oct 2015
What Does the Volkswagen Story Really Tell Us?The current scandal around Volkswagen (VW) and possibly other German carmakers rigging emission measurements of their cars should have come as less of a shock to the press and the public. Surveys of German businesses have been already showing appalling levels of business integrity and VW is by far not the only German company involved […]
17 Jul 2015