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Index for Public Integrity: a new way to measure corruption

A new way to measure corruption

Alina Mungiu-Pippidi



We need better tools to discover what progress is really being made in the fight against corruption. To solve the mystery of the world that does not change, the European Union funded a five-year research project on corruption. The project has just launched its main tool to strengthen the anti-corruption fight: a new Index for Public Integrity.


The IPI consists of the following six components:

  • Judicial independence, as measured by the Global Competitiveness Database developed by the World Economic Forum, which captures to what extent a non-corrupt judiciary system exists that is able to impose legal constraints impartially.

  • Administrative burden, which is is a measure of power discretion, as red tape is associated with a high risk of corruption. This measure is calculated from the average number of procedures and time needed to start a business and pay corporate taxes from the World Bank’s Doing Business dataset.

  • Trade openness , which measures the extent of regulations concerning a country’s external economic activities, such as the average number of procedures and time for exporting and importing.

  • Budget transparency, which measures the public access to the executive’s budget proposal as a control mechanism for discretionary public spending, based on a section of Open Budget Index.

  • E-citizenship, which captures the empowerment of citizens through online tools and social media in the exercise of social accountability.

  • Freedom of the press, a measure developed from Freedom House, which measures the degree of media independence resulting from a specific national legal, political and economic environment."

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