Measuring Governance: Revisiting the Uses of Corruption and Transparency Indicators

  • Robert P. BeschelJr


Over the past two decades, there has been significant progress in the development of indices that are used to measure the quality of governance, including important dimensions such as corruption and transparency. This chapter looks at the indicators most commonly used by development practitioners, such as Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) and the World Governance Indicators (WGIs), as well as some of the more recent indices. It reviews the purposes that such indicators typically serve and the conceptual and methodological challenges that surround their use. It discusses their historical evolution and the ways in which such indicators should (and should not) be used. The chapter concludes by noting that, while there are inherent constraints on the degree of precision that can be expected from such indices, more traditional approaches, such as the CPI and the WGIs, provide a rough and cost-effective first approximation that can be used to assess the severity of problems. Newer second-generation analytical tools, such as the Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (PEFA) assessments, can provide more nuanced and granular information about specific government functions. Taken together, these indices provide practitioners with a useful platform on which to begin developing reform action plans—with the understanding that specific programmes will always need to be highly contextual and tailored to specific political and bureaucratic environments to be effective.


Governance indices Measurement Anticorruption metrics Transparency indicators 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert P. BeschelJr
    • 1
  1. 1.World BankWashington, DCUSA

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