How will corruption evolve in 2024?

REVIEWING THE PAST TO FORECAST THE FUTURE

Every year on December 9 the world celebrates International Anticorruption Day. This is the annual moment to review the state of global corruption, as well as the best opportunity to reflect on the poverty of our review tools. It has always been a challenge to measure corruption, but to measure corruption across time is the ultimate challenge. Another year of struggle against corruption is coming to a pass. Are we nearer to the target? Has any country graduated to good governance, in the ‘green’ area of the upper third of the global ranking? Has any country already in that area experienced some backsliding? Are some countries closer to reaping the benefits of many years of reforms or, on the contrary, does the world risk losing more countries to state capture?

As perception indicators are not optimal for assessing change from one year to another, ERCAS devised a methodology to both capture change – and lack of it- and explain it. A snapshot for 2023 can be found as the Index of Public Integrity (IPI), based on scientifically validated indicators, which proxy the causes (enablers and disablers) of corruption. Then, as indicators always have a certain time lag, the trend analysis is completed with an analysis of recent facts. All the data can be found on www.corruptionrisk.org. Except for the countries presented in the front table, all the others are forecast to be stationary. The six indicators used for the IPI 2023 are:

 

Administrative transparency De facto transparency of public contracts, business register, land cadaster and auditor general reports, as reported step by step and link by link in the T-index.
Online services The extent to which governments offer online services, as featured in the UN Survey. (Replaced Administrative burden based on the World Bank Doing Business)
Budget transparency The extent to which budget proposals and previous-year expenditures are and have been made public, using a fraction of the Open Budget Index survey.
Judicial independence The extent to which the judiciary is autonomous from private interest (including by government officials) as in the Global Competitiveness Report survey by the World Economic Forum
(Digital citizenship)
E-citizenship
Household broadband subscriptions and Facebook users per country measure the capacity of civil society
Freedom of the press Yearly indicator including economic and physical pressure on media

 

As Facebook users’ data, which is a component of the e-citizens, changes coverage across years, we use only Internet household connections to measure e-citizens for the forecast. As administrative transparency is a new indicator, with direct observations of every country’s online transparency, it is also not included in the forecast trends monitoring (just the IPI), but as an additional weight step. The step-by-step methodology can be read here.

Our IPI and forecast methodology thus provide three pictures:

1.   A snapshot- How the world is in the 2022-2023 IPI and why. Users can read the IPI by country and compare it against its region and income group on every component.

2.   A motion picture based on a time series- how countries changed over the past ten years and where they would likely be next year.

3.   A diagnosis – Open the forecast country page to see the individual trends, diagnosis and explicit legend to understand where the country is on corruption risk, what it could do to improve, and where it will be next year.

 

 

THE ANALYSIS

  • Every year, state capture is subverted by the silent but unstoppable rise of global digital citizenship, which signifies aggregate demand for good governance, understood as fair and equal treatment by a government for its subjects, with no privileged groups or citizens, enjoying a different status due to connections to the government — or bribes. Almost in every country of the world, the number of e-citizens is on the rise.
  • Corruption fights back, even against the most successful judicial crackdowns, with former successful countries losing battles against impunity in Latin America, Africa and the Balkans. Anti-privilege reforms promoting ethical universalism, and not high-profile trials, thus offer the most sustainable path to good governance, as success stories prove.
  • An unprecedented number of insurgencies, coups and wars are taking state capture to the next violent stage and threaten what have been incipient promising trends in  have also been under threat but give signs of resilience and recovery.
  • As Estonia moved up and the United States down, Estonia is now ahead of the United States as number 5 in the IPI ranking (1-10, with 10 best integrity in the IPI), after Denmark, Norway, Finland and New Zealand, which lead the top.
  • Digital trends (Internet and social media connected citizens, online services) are all steadily rising, while political indicators (judicial independence, freedom of the press) are doing badly in most of the world and worsening. The political trends cancel out the positive tech trends, and growing demand in the form of civil society combined with increased repression of the press and civil society is likely to lead to much instability wherever civil society reaches some critical mass – for instance, in the capital cities. The fall of captors in Sri Lanka may be followed by many others, but the success of the revolutionary path to good governance depends on the degree of institutionalization of political alternatives to follow. Not many political coalitions for good governance, unified by a single program on eliminating privilege and increasing transparency, exist around the world. If the good political society does not associate with a clear purposive movement, populists will remain what they have been for a while now – the chief political winners due to discontent with corruption.
  • Unless the United States solves its leadership integrity problems and is back convincingly as the needed global anticorruption coalition leader, global standards will sink even lower in 2024, and global anticorruption will become just another tool of a new cold war, with accusations of political instrumentalization and double standards flourishing. A phase of global moral anarchy with few successful transformations might follow as countries increasingly realign on grounds other than public integrity reputation.

 

More on www.corruptionrisk.org

Direct queries to professors Alina Mungiu-Pippidi and Michael Johnston at mungiu-pippidi@againstcorruption.eu

 

Berlin-Roma-Bucharest, December 2023

 

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has made progress on e-government and red tape reduction, though much more remains to be done. Transparency reforms have also started and are the way forward, especially on public expenditures. The number of e-citizens is still limited but the trend is upward.

New Coalition against Corruption Monitors Government in Sri Lanka

Broad civil society coalitions against corruption have become more common in the past years, and several examples have been documented in a wide range of countries and regions. From the Coalitions for a Clean Parliament in Eastern Europe to business sector articulations in some Asian countries, their profiles and focus vary from country to country, but all represent a very positive development regarding the increasing relevance of civil society in the fight against corruption. In late 2012, another such example was registered with the emergence of a Sri Lankan Coalition against Corruption, formed by several segments of Sri Lankan society, including activists, academics, journalists, members of trade unions and artists.

Officially launched in October 2012, the coalition was motivated by the widespread perception that corruption is a severe problem in Sri Lanka. Surveys conducted in 2011 revealed that one in two Sri Lankans consider that corruption is increasing in their country. Based on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) released in 2012, the country ranked 79 among 176 countries. According to the spokesman for the Coalition’s Action Committee, “corruption in Sri Lanka is widespread and rampant. Corruption has affected both public and private sectors. We need a single organization raising a single voice to fight against corruption”. Some of the organisations involved in the initiative, such as trade unions, were already known for being active in relation to governance issues and revealing corrupt activities, but their isolated efforts were often followed by threats and intimidation. Therefore, the idea of creating a broader coalition was also seen as an important step to strengthen these organisations against outside pressure and violence.

This is the first coalition of its kind in Sri Lanka, and it has established as its main goals strengthening the parliamentary oversight committees on financial matters, discouraging the misuse of public property, promoting increased transparency in state finances and the passing of legislation on right to information and whistleblower protection. The coalition also plans to organise public hearings on corruption, in a so-called ‘People’s Tribunal’.

In addition to its advocacy work, the coalition investigates and reveals instances of corruption and requests relevant authorities to take necessary action. It has recently contributed to exposing questionable land allocations by the government to private development projects. According to coalition members, many allocation procedures have been characterised by violation of existing regulation and sale of public property below market prices to large private enterprises.

In the complex post-conflict context in Sri Lanka, fighting corruption is certainly a difficult and dangerous task, but this effort by Sri Lankan civil society to strengthen itself collectively is a good example of how collaboration can give civil society more leverage in its anti-corruption engagement. Although it is still early to assess the success of this enterprise, it is a positive example of cooperation across several segments of civil society that can inspire similar action in other countries, and it will definitely make a contribution in increasing awareness about corruption in Sri Lanka.

The pictured featured above is from tisrilanka.org.