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)