Why We Killed the Global Integrity Index

Global Integrity

Astute followers of Global Integrity and our annual Global Integrity Report will notice something different in this year’s Report: there’s no Global Integrity Index ranking countries by their overall scores. It took two years of internal discussion, including at the board level, to decide to kill the Index. Here’s the reason for the change.

First, as we have reduced our scope of national coverage in the past two cycles of data gathering to focus an increasing amount of effort and resources on our Local Integrity Initiative projects, Indaba, and Foglamp, the utility and attractiveness of a country ranking has waned given our limited coverage of roughly 35 countries each year in the Report. Rankings are only “fun” when you get above 50 countries or so, in our experience.

Second, the decision to cease publishing the Index was a conscious attempt to reinforce a key belief that we have come to embrace after many years of carrying out this kind of fieldwork: indices rarely change things. Publishing an index is terrific for the publishing organization in that it drives media coverage, headlines, and controversy. We are all for that. They are very effective public relations tools. But a single number for a country stacked up against other countries has not proven, in our experience, to be a particularly effective policy making or advocacy tool. Country rankings are too blunt and generalized to be “actionable” and inform real rebate and policy choices. Sure, they can put an issue on the table, but that’s about it. We realize this decision may be controversial and welcome feedback on our policy shift, both positive and negative. Hit the Comments below to chime in on the debate!

— Nathaniel Heller

— Image: Broken Thoughts (cc by/nc/sa)

Global Integrity
Global Integrity

6 comments on “Why We Killed the Global Integrity Index

  • Hi,

    I see newspaper reports putting Canada at #19 out of 100 countries. I’m now looking for the ranking list and can’t find it anywhere. So, now I’m wondering how they came to that number. (Especially now that I see there’s only 35 or so countries dealt with this year)

    I would find a list very helpful as it will confirm or deny other reports before I go announcing something on the radio. I certainly don’t have time to look at all the countries, write down their overall number then rank them myself.

    Please bring back the list!

  • Nathaniel Heller says:

    The joy of Flickr. A quick search on “index” yielded this gloriously appropriate pic.

  • nathaniel says:

    Hi Lisa — Some reporter in Canada put together that misleading factoid. I would not disseminate it further, as it’s not entirely accurate.

  • Paola Hermosa says:

    A greeting,
    Hello Nathaniel
    I have used your data in my last project. I would you like to ask, until that year you elaborated index study?
    Thanks you very much!!!

    • Cashin Yiu says:

      Hi Paola –

      In prior years (2004-2009) we did index, though for the reasons noted in this blogpost dropped the index starting in 2010. At this point we no longer do the Global Integrity Report or any indexing, though we still have rich data sets through the Africa Integrity Indicators. Email us if you are interested in chatting more about what data you are using/find useful!


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