Corruption Perception: Experts vs. The Wisdom of the Crowd

Transparency International famously publishes a Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) every year, which ranks countries by perceived corruption levels, gleaned from an amalgamation of ‘expert’ surveys and country assessments produced by around a dozen institutions (e.g., the Bertelsmann Foundation; the Economist Intelligence Unit; Freedom House; Political Risk Services International; the World Economic Forum’s “Executive Opinion Surveys”).

But, instead of relying on the perceptions of experts, what would a publicly crowdsourced corruption perception index look like? How much, and in what ways, might it differ from the index the surveyed experts produce each year? Well, thanks to sociologist Matthew Salganik at Princeton University, we can find out —with your help, of course.

So, without further ado, let’s get to it! At the top of this page, in ‘widget’ form, you’ll find a box asking you a simple question – ‘Which country is more corrupt?’ – followed by a choice of two countries chosen at random. Vote for the one you think is ‘more corrupt’ (by clicking on it) and you’ll be presented with a new randomly-selected pair of dueling countries. Keep choosing between pairs of countries for as long or as short as you like.

You can also cast votes at and invite your friends to vote too by sharing that link via Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Orkut, good old-fashioned email, and whatever other online tools I’ve forgotten to mention…

The combined results of everyone’s votes can be expressed as an overall ranking of countries by perceived degree of corruption (‘most corrupt’ at the top, ‘least corrupt’ at the bottom). The ranking will be highly volatile at first, when few votes have been cast, but, over time, once enough votes have been cast, the ranking should stabilize as the ‘crowd’ converges on a consensus.

Fair warning, though: once you’ve clicked through a few ‘duels,’ you may find it hard to stop – voting can get strangely addictive…

Tom Hannan

— Image Credit: Flickr | zigazou76

1 Comment. Leave new

One major problem here – how do you settle potential differences?

You do the exercise, get the numbers, say they differ, what then? Crowd-sourcing what users thought of a book they read is quite different than comparative comparison of two countries.

Two other problems:

1) people are not terribly good at measuring corruption changes in time even in their own country;

2) the reliability of the answers is dubious.

Also, CPI is best thought of as a not very accurate table league that gives some understanding of relative corruption. However, TI does also Global Corruption Barometer which asks people about their specific experience about corruption in different areas, which might be better comparable.

The blog does not link to research design, if you know of one, could you please send a link?




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *