Transparency International (TI) publishes its annual index of perceptions of national levels of corruptions today. Here is the official TI press release, and discussion on TI’s Space for Transparency blog.
As has become tradition, newspapers throughout the world are quick to point out how Country X has improved (or dropped) in the 2009 CPI ranking vis-à-vis last year’s index even though TI warns fairly explicitly against these sorts of comparisons: “The CPI is not intended to measure a country’s progress over time. It is a snapshot of perceptions of corruption, using data published in the past two years.” You can find the detailed methodology used to assemble the index on TI’s website.
As we reported in September, the CPI’s creator Dr. Johann Graf Lambsdorff is no longer publishing the index for TI, which has taken on responsibility for generating the index in-house with all the beta transformations, percentile matching, and other statistical techniques involved in blending the source data together.
In our experience with our own index, any kind of ranking is an easy news hook. But beyond awareness raising, we find rankings contribute little to the hard work of policy reform. Other assessments — some of them also made by TI, like the National Integrity System assessments or Global Corruption Barometer — are more likely to come up in discussions with local activists or development practitioners. But a quick look at Google Trends will show you that none of those releases drive media like the Corruption Perceptions Index, which may make it hard for TI to let go.
— Renato Busquets and Global Integrity