Global Integrity Report: 2008 — New Reporting and Metrics on Anti-Corruption in 57 Countries

Global Integrity

The Global Integrity Report is a bottom-up assessment of what’s working, what’s failed and why in anti-corruption efforts worldwide. The Global Integrity Report: 2008, released today, includes new reporting on national anti-corruption practices in 57 countries, including first ever reports on Iraq and Somalia. This post has highlights from the 2008 reports and links to the new content.

The Global Integrity Report is generated by hundreds of local researchers and journalists and includes a robust, double-blind peer review process to ensure accuracy. Rather than trying to measure corruption per se, we instead assess the opposite: the existence, effectiveness, and citizen access to key anti-corruption safeguards (see methodology or the Global Integrity approach).

Key findings of the report include…

For the third year running, poor regulation over political financing remains the #1 governance challenge around the world. Full story…

The most significant anti-corruption performance lag in much of the Arab world is poor access to government information. Full story...

A new Grand Corruption Watch List for 2008 includes: Angola, Belarus, Cambodia, China, Georgia, Iraq, Montenegro, Morocco, Nicaragua, Serbia, Somalia, the West Bank, and Yemen; all countries at serious risk for high-level corruption. Full story…

Several key countries show improvement or backsliding from previous years, including China, Kenya, and Russia. Full story…

Eastern and Central Europe continues to perform relatively well on the Global Integrity Index despite widespread perceptions of weak anti-corruption mechanisms in the region. Full story…

Corruption and transparency challenges appear to be worsening on the Horn of Africa, threatening to exacerbate tensions in an already-fragile security situation. Full story…

Key country highlights…

Global Integrity Report: China
China shows a small overall improvement from 2007 due in part to a new access to information regulation, which helped bolster citizen access to ombudsman reports and auditing records. Our lead researcher cites a “freer” internet where some criticisms of government are allowed to remain, but at the same time journalists continue to work in a threatening atmosphere where they risk imprisonment for collaboration with foreign media outlets. China lacks a legal framework for regulating political financing due to the fact that political party expenditures are “covered by the central government” and businesses typically do not influence politics through donations, but rather through personal contacts. The national ombudsman is connected to the ruling party and whistle-blowing regulations are disregarded in practice, providing very few outlets for citizens or civil servants to voice their concerns. Full report…

Global Integrity Report: Iraq
Five years after the US-led invasion, Iraq faces very serious challenges to its governance and anti-corruption system. The country currently does not have the capacity to support good governance mechanisms and processes, and the government is too weak to enforce most regulations. Many appointments in the Ministry of Education, for example, are based on patronage despite laws preventing nepotism and patronage in the civil service. There is also some evidence of voting irregularity, with “several reports describing how the Iraqi military and interior ministry forces used their influence and authority to sway voters and influence the vote.” Although some legal measures overseeing the public procurement process do exist, there is no law governing conflicts of interest for public procurement officials. Additionally, the average citizen cannot gain access to government records due to the lack of a formal access to information mechanism or law. Full report…

Global Integrity Report: Somalia
Somalia’s efforts to combat corruption are severely handicapped by a very weak governance and anti-corruption framework, not surprising considering the country has been wracked by civil war, famine, and a weak central government for nearly 15 years. The country earned weak to very weak scores across the board. Institutions of oversight and regulation such as the ombudsman office and anti-corruption agency don’t exist (although some anti-corruption legislation is in place), while the main audit body is ineffective. Law enforcement is crippled by a lack of funding support as well as heavy politicization. Elections have not been free or fair for the past two decades. And while opposition politicians are not represented in the legislature, “there is armed opposition fighting everywhere in the country.” Full report…

The Global Integrity Index

The report also includes the Global Integrity Index, a ranking of national-level anti-corruption performance that is comparable across countries and years (but see our caveats) and is supported by more than 15,000 scores, comments and references. Unlike many governance and corruption indices, all source data and peer review disputes from the Global Integrity Index are transparent and free to reuse (download .XLS here). For more on the problems with governance data, see our book A Users’ Guide to Measuring Corruption or see why our Integrity Indicators approach is unique.

Feedback & Impact

For local anti-corruption advocates, we are proud to announce the first Global Integrity Impact Challenge, which will offer cash awards for the best proposals that use the insights from the Global Integrity Report to drive specific policy change or deeper understanding of corruption issues in your country. See here for more information on the Impact Challenge.

You can respond to the Global Integrity report here — after looking at the Indicator scores in the country reports, did our researchers get it right? Let us know what you think, and we’ll be happy to respond to your questions or criticism.

If you see coverage of the Global Integrity Report in your local media or blogs, please let us know here. If you’d like to promote this report to your local media or blogs, feel free to forward the press releases here.

Global Integrity Report: 2008 can be found at

— Nathaniel Heller & Global Integrity

Global Integrity
Global Integrity

3 comments on “Global Integrity Report: 2008 — New Reporting and Metrics on Anti-Corruption in 57 Countries

  • Anonymous says:

    Wholeheartedly concur….and comparisons between countries and different years present their own issues. It is by considering the full data that you avoid perceptions created by category scores, for example ranking Benin at Strong for Anticorruption and Rule of Law, but Canada only Moderate.

    I have been using the GI material to provoke discussion with groups of officials and encouraging them to see how long established and apparently “sound” processes can be viewed quite differently by your country assessors.

  • @anonymous

    If our caveat page included every possible misuse of our data, it’d be a very long page. 🙂 At some point, our users need to help us out by using our data in smart ways: we’ve written a book about that (download free here).

    You make some good points, but to be perfectly blunt: we don’t have any data that suggest “that [Benin’s] governance rates on a par with Canadian institutions”.

    For one thing, we haven’t done any assessment in Benin since 2006. In 2007, Canada was in the Strong tier. In a 2008 assessment, Canada clipped the high end of the Moderate tier, while Benin managed the bottom end of that spread back in 2006. To say that they are therefore “on par” is a bit like saying Britain’s geography is on par with Madagascar — yes, but only when viewed from very far away.

    Rankings are, quite frankly, a little silly. As we note in the book I linked, they rarely help anyone make decisions about anything. To do that, you need to read the actual reports, which are rich with the context and detail you are asking for.

  • Your caveat should also note that “less integrity does not mean more corruption”. Anyone with a passing familiarity with Benin for example would not be convinced by your data that its governance rates on a par with Canadian institutions. Just because Benin’s president got on to the “time for change” mantra ahead of Obama and made loud noises about counter corruption, the country is unchanged and the new leopards have the same spots as the old regime.

    Your results would suggest for example that traders selecting Indonesia as the law of a contract could anticipate as satisfactory judicial outcomes as specifying the law of Canada. A non-Indonesian would be very pragmatic to make such a choice.

    I suspect if the GI measurements tool were used to assess Scandinavian countries, the result would not reflect the generally high regard which their administrations merit. New Zealand is the same. Despite appearing consistently at the top of the TI CPI, its judicial and accountability ratings would rank only moderately on the GI Report. Perhaps there is a need for a measure where ethics in government are a cultural norm even if they are not entrenched in legislation.


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