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Measuring Corruption: State of the Art, Challenges, and Advancements

Policy
Methodology
VIR27
Pedro Magalhães
Universidade de Lisboa Instituto de Ciências Sociais
Sergiu Lipcean
Dublin City University

Tuesday 09:00 - 12:00 (19/04/2022)

Tuesday 13:00 - 16:00 (19/04/2022)

Wednesday 09:30 - 11:45 (20/04/2022)

Wednesday 13:00 - 15:15 (20/04/2022)

Tuesday 11:00 - 18:00 (19/04/2022)

Wednesday 11:30 - 17:15 (20/04/2022)


The study of corruption has benefitted significantly from the expansion of survey and experimental research and the availability of national and cross-national datasets, assessing perceptions, attitudes and experiences of corruption. Traditionally, researchers have used perception-based indexes to measure corruption, such as the Corruption Perceptions Index or the Corruption Control indicator of the World Governance Indicators (WGI) (Kaufmann, Kraay, & Mastruzzi, 2009). These indexes aggregate citizens, public servants, business people, and experts’ opinions about the prevalence of corruption in a given organisation, sector or society and have served as proxies to its objective measurement (Gingerich, 2013). Objective indicators, such as official crime statistics, pose various comparability challenges and have often been discarded as a reliable measurement of corruption, leading to academic divestment in the subfield (Cazzola, 1988; De Sousa, 2002; June, Chowdhury, Heller, & Werve, 2008; Piquero & Albanese, 2011) However, perception-based measures raise a number of challenges and criticisms on substantive and methodological grounds (Andersson and Heywood, 2009; Razafindrakoto and Roubaud, 2010; Thomas, 2010; Thompson and Shah, 2005), for often overlooking conceptual gradients of the phenomenon (Gerring and Thacker, 2004; Hellman et al., 2003; Karklins, 2005; Schleiter and Voznaya, 2014) and cultural differences stemming from cynicism, social injustice, economic inequality, social trust, government acceptance, and media reporting (Treisman, 2007). Current discussions in this regard have been held simultaneously (but not always jointly) in academia, specialized agencies, and (non-)governmental organizations, suggesting the need for the interplay of different disciplinary and methodological approaches. There is still much to be done when it comes to build more adjusted measures of corruption and, especially, to determine what dimensions of the phenomena are captured by different indicators (subjective and objective) and the extent to which they travel across contexts for comparative purposes. Besides discussing what has been implemented with greater or lesser success, this workshop also aims at addressing: (a) conceptual constraints/opportunities, since the issues of how to ask, code, and even define corruption over time and across groups and cultures remain underexplored; (b) data collection constraints (opportunities), since comparable crime-related data on corruption is still a challenge to cross-national research but other government data is being produced and release dfor public use, offering new possibilities at developing objective corruption proxies (Fazekas et al., 2016; Fazekas and Kocsis, 2020; Lima and Delen, 2020); (c) design constraints, given that “corruption” is a floating signifier with conceptual nuances not easily captured by single measures and a topic subject to “social desirability” bias; (c) scope constraints, as measurements have often been developed with distinct policy, societal, and/or academic objectives in mind and addressed to specific audiences; (d) and ethical constraints, raises by applied research on criminal behaviours. The workshop will serve to debate such challenges and possible solutions, through a combination of theoretical, methodological, and/or empirical contributions that may help shaping strategies to improve the depth and quality of studies on (anti-)corruption and integrity. This workshop aims to bring together researchers dealing with the challenges of uncovering and measuring corruption using both perception-based and hard data.

This workshop is formally directed by Magalhães and Lipcean, but involves also Giovanna Rodriguez-Garcia (National Autonomous University of Mexico) and Fernando Jiménez (UMurcia) in informal co-ordination capacity. It is endorsed by the ECPR Standing Group on (Anti-)corruption and Integrity and seeks to advance data collection methods and analysis on the multiple dimensions of corruption to provide a more solid ground for the development of evidenced-based policies. The workshop discusses new methodological tools and operationalisation techniques that facilitate understanding how data could be transformed into corruption, transparency, and integrity measures. In addition, through the discussion, we will obtain valuable policy insights in curbing corruption. We assume that accurate detection and precise measurement are essential to diagnose the corruption problems and identify the most efficient tools to address them. The workshop is expected to attract researchers from different disciplinary fields, in particular young researchers (graduated students and postdocs) who are working on the topic of (anti-)corruption and integrity using exploratory, subnational, national and cross-national surveys and original experimental methods in their research endeavours and doctoral theses. We value both empirical analyses applying different methodological approaches to the study of perceptions, attitudes, and experiences of corruption and reflections on conceptual issues, research design and methods. The co-chairs wish to attract four types of papers: (1) scoping/systematic reviews of the literature on perceptions of corruption from multiple conceptual and theoretical angles; (2) methodological papers reflecting on different instruments and data collection techniques; (3) research papers using innovative analytical tools to interpret empirical data from both observational and experimental datasets and official datasets; (4) critical and audacious theoretical papers about the policy relevance and degree of innovation brought forth by different corruption measurements. Since we are seeking to make a collective publication, either in the format of a special issue in an indexed journal or an edited book with a prestigious publisher in the field, potential contributors should carefully read the outline of this Joint workshop and fit their proposals into one of the four types of paper just described. In order to avoid dispersion, we ask potential contributors to send us a summary of their proposed papers, with a short explanation as to how they fit into the general theme of the workshop before any final commitment is made. The workshop aims at excellence, and it is open to contributions coming from different academic backgrounds. Fairness considerations concerning geographical spread, age and gender parity will be taken into account when selecting participants. All participants are expected to submit a paper, make a presentation and discuss, at least, two papers during the sessions. Papers will be completed and submitted in advance, so that they can be circulated among all participants.

Title Details
What ‘bad apples’ removed from barrels can tell us about corruption View Paper Details
Hidden barriers to open competition: Using text mining to uncover corrupt restrictions to competition in Public Procurement View Paper Details
A mass-elite congruence study on the social definition of corruption View Paper Details
Does Public Funding of Parties Reduce Corruption? Evidence from Firm-Level Data View Paper Details
Democratic values, political trust, and corruption: a survey analysis View Paper Details
When Corruption Investigations Come to Nothing: A Natural Experiment on Trust in Courts View Paper Details
Perception of Sociotropic Corruption, Crisis and (In)Tolerance towardsa Corruption View Paper Details
Perception of corruption: strengths and weaknesses of the most common method for measuring corruption View Paper Details
Deontological and consequentialist ethics and attitudes towards corruption: a survey data analysis View Paper Details
Dimensionality assessment of red flag indicators: a first step towards their validation View Paper Details
Institutional trust in Ghana between corruption experienced-based and corruption perception-based dimensions View Paper Details
Is it seeing believing? Why did advances in measuring corruption not lead to its decline in Latin America? View Paper Details
Are Football Fans Turning a Blind Eye? Perception of Corruption and its Implication in Fandom View Paper Details