Understanding Governance and Corruption Using Survey Data: A Novel Approach and Its Applications in Policy and Research

  • Francesca Recanatini


Cross-country evidence has shown the negative impact of poor governance and corruption on citizens and business people. Researchers and practitioners, however, need more disaggregated data for policy design, implementation, and monitoring. This chapter introduces an alternative methodology that allows institutions to be measured in a more disaggregated way using survey data to create indicators at the agency and sub-national levels. The experiential data used also allows the evaluation of the degree of implementation of regulations within public agencies rather than their quality. The chapter discusses two research applications that have shed light on the links between the quality of institutions, service delivery, and corruption. It also provides an overview of selected cases where these indicators have supported policy-makers in the design of governance reforms.


Governance Institutions Corruption Indicators 

Supplementary material


  1. Bardhan, P. (1997). Corruption and Development. Journal of Economic Literature, 35(3), 1320–1346.Google Scholar
  2. Broadman, H., & Recanatini, F. (2002). Seeds of Corruption. MOCT-MOST: Economic Policy in Transitional Economies, 11, 359–392.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Charron, N. (2013). From Aland to Ankara: European Quality of Government Index (Working Paper Series 2013:11). Gothenburg: Quality of Government Institute, University of Gothenburg.Google Scholar
  4. Fisman, R., & Gatti, R. (2002). Decentralization and Corruption: Evidence Across Countries. Journal of Public Economics, 83, 325–345.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Fernandez, R., & Rodrik, D. (1991). Resistance to Reform: Status Quo Bias in Presence of Individual Specific Uncertainty. American Economic Review, 81(5), 1146–1155.Google Scholar
  6. Friedman, E., Johnson, S., Kaufmann, D., & Zoido-Lobaton, P. (2000). Dodging the Grabbing Hand: The Determinants of Unofficial Activity in 69 Countries. Journal of Public Economics, 76, 459–493.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Gupta, S., Davoodi, H., & Alonso-Terme R. (1998). Does Corruption Affect Income Inequality and Poverty? (International Monetary Fund Working Paper, WP/98/76). Washington, DC: International Monetary Fund.Google Scholar
  8. International Monetary Fund. (1996). Summary Proceedings of the Fifty-First Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors October 1–3, 1996. Washington, DC: International Monetary Fund.Google Scholar
  9. Hunt, J., & Laszlo, S. (2005, September). Bribery: Who Pays? Who Refuses? What Are the Payoffs? (National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper Series, 11635). Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research.Google Scholar
  10. Jain, A. (2001). Corruption: A Review. Journal of Economic Surveys, 15(1), 71–121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Johnson, S., Kaufmann, D., McMillan, J., & Woodruff, C. (2000). Why Do Firms Hide? Bribes and Unofficial Activity After Communism. Journal of Public Economics, 76, 495–520.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Johnston, M., & Kpundeh, S. (2004, December). Building a Clean Machine: Anti-Corruption Coalitions and Sustainable Reform (World Bank Policy Research Working Paper, 3466). Washington, DC: World Bank.Google Scholar
  13. Kaufmann, D. (2000). Governance and Anti-Corruption. In V. Thomas (Ed.), The Quality of Growth (pp. 135–168). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Kaufmann, D., Pradhan, S., & Ryterman, R. (1998). New Frontiers in Diagnosing and Combating Corruption (PREM Note #7). Washington, DC: World Bank.Google Scholar
  15. Kaufmann, D., Kraay, A., & Zoito-Lobaton, P. (1999a). Governance Matters (World Bank PRD Working Paper No. 2196). Washington, DC: World Bank.Google Scholar
  16. Kaufmann, D., Kraay, A., & Zoito-Lobaton, P. (1999b). Aggregating Governance Indicators (World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 2195). Washington, DC: World Bank.Google Scholar
  17. Kaufmann, D., Mehrez, G., & Gurgur, T. (2002). Voice or Public Sector Management? An Empirical Investigation of Determinants of Public Sector Performance Based on a Survey of Public Official (World Bank Research Working Paper). Washington, DC: The World Bank.Google Scholar
  18. Kaufmann, D., Montoriol, J., & Recanatini, F. (2008). How Does Bribery Affect Public Service Delivery? Micro-Evidence from Service Users and Public Pfficials in Peru (World Bank Policy Research Working Paper, No. 4492). Washington, DC: The World Bank.Google Scholar
  19. Kisunko, G., Knack, S., & Islam. (2013). Russian Federation: National and Regional Trends in Regulatory Burden and Corruption. World Bank Policy Note, February 2013. Washington, DC: World Bank.Google Scholar
  20. Knack, S., & Anderson, J. (1999). Is “Good Governance” Progressive? Institutions, Inequality, and Poverty Reduction. Paper presented at the 1999 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Atlanta, Georgia.Google Scholar
  21. Kpundeh, S., & Stapenhurst, R. (1999). Curbing Corruption: Toward a Model for Building National Integrity. Washington, DC: Economic Development Institute, The World Bank.Google Scholar
  22. Mauro, P. (1995). Corruption and Growth. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 110(3), 681–712.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Recanatini, F. (2012). Assessing Corruption at the Country Level. In A. Graycar & R. G. Smith (Eds.), Handbook of Global Research and Practice in Corruption (pp. 34–64). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  24. Recanatini, F. (2016). Why Are Some Public Agencies Less Corrupt than Others? Lessons for Institutional Reform from Survey Data. Background paper for the World Development Report 2016. Washington, DC: World Bank.Google Scholar
  25. Svensson, J. (2003). Who Must Pay Bribes and How Much? Quarterly Journal of Economics, 118(1), 207–230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Svensson, J. (2005). Eight Questions About Corruption. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 19(3), 19–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Tanzi, V., & Davoodi, H. (1997). Corruption, Public Investment and Growth (IMF Working Papers, WP/97/139). Washington, DC: International Monetary Fund.Google Scholar
  28. Treisman, D. (2000). The Causes of Corruption: A Cross-National Study. Journal of Public Economics, 76(3), 399–457.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. World Bank. (2001). Voices of the Misgoverned and Misruled: An Empirical Diagnostic Study on Governance, Rule of Law and Corruption for Peru. Washington, DC: The World Bank.Google Scholar
  30. World Bank. (2003). Governance and Anticorruption Diagnostic Report for Sierra Leone, produced in collaboration with the Government of Sierra Leone, 2003. Washington, DC: World Bank.Google Scholar
  31. World Bank. (2004). Making Services Work for the Poor. World Development Report. Washington DC: World Bank.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francesca Recanatini
    • 1
  1. 1.World BankWashington, DCUSA

Personalised recommendations