This indicator measures the extent to which public power is exercised for private grain, including both petty and grand forms of corruption, as well as “capture” of the state by elites and private interests. It also measures the strength and effectiveness of a country’s policy and institutional framework to prevent and combat corruption.
Countries are evaluated on the following factors:
- The prevalence of grand corruption and petty corruption at all levels of government;
- The effect of corruption on the “attractiveness” of a country as a place to do business;
- The frequency of “irregular payments” associated with import and export permits, public contracts, public utilities, tax assessments, and judicial decisions;
- Nepotism, cronyism and patronage in the civil service;
- The estimated cost of bribery as a share of a company’s annual sales;
- The perceived involvement of elected officials, border officials, tax officials, judges, and magistrates in corruption;
- The strength and effectiveness of a government’s anti-corruption laws, policies, and institutions;
- Public trust in the financial honesty of politicians;
- The extent to which:
- processes are put in place for accountability and transparency in decision-making and disclosure of information at the local level;
- government authorities monitor the prevalence of corruption and implement sanctions transparently;
- conflict of interest and ethics rules for public servants are observed and enforced;
- the income and asset declarations of public officials are subject to verification and open to public and media scrutiny;
- senior government officials are immune from prosecution under the law for malfeasance;
- the government provides victims of corruption with adequate mechanisms to pursue their rights;
- the tax administrator implements effective internal audit systems to ensure the accountability of tax collection;
- the executive budget-making process is comprehensive and transparent and subject to meaningful legislative review and scrutiny;
- the government ensures transparency, open-bidding, and effective competition in the awarding of government contracts;
- there are legal and functional protections for whistleblowers, anti-corruption activists, and investigators;
- allegations of corruption at the national and local level are thoroughly investigated and prosecuted without prejudice;
- government is free from excessive bureaucratic regulations, registration requirements, and/or other controls that increase opportunities for corruption;
- citizens have a legal right to information about government operations and can obtain government documents at a nominal cost.
Relationship to Growth & Poverty Reduction
Corruption hinders economic growth by increasing costs, lowering productivity, discouraging investment, reducing confidence in public institutions, limiting the development of small and medium-sized enterprises, weakening systems of public financial management, and undermining investments in health and education. 1 Corruption can also increase poverty by slowing economic growth, skewing government expenditure in favor of the rich and well-connected, concentrating public investment in unproductive projects, promoting a more regressive tax system, siphoning funds away from essential public services, adding a higher level of risk to the investment decisions of low-income individuals, and reinforcing patterns of unequal asset ownership, thereby limiting the ability of the poor to borrow and increase their income. 2
The indicator is an index combining a subset of 22 different assessments and surveys, depending on availability, each of which receives a different weight, depending on its estimated precision and country coverage. The Control of Corruption indicator draws on data, as applicable, from the Country Policy and Institutional Assessments of the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the African Development Bank, the Afrobarometer Survey, the World Bank’s Business Environment and Enterprise Performance Survey, the Bertelsmann Foundation’s Bertelsmann Transformation Index, Freedom House’s Nations in Transit report, Global Insight’s Business Conditions and Risk Indicators, the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Country Risk Service, Transparency International’s Global Corruption Barometer survey, the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report, Global Integrity’s African Integrity Index (previously known as the Global Integrity Index), the Gallup World Poll, the International Fund for Agricultural Development’s Rural Sector Performance Assessments, the French Government’s Institutional Profiles Database, the Latinobarometro Survey, Political Economic Risk Consultancy’s Corruption in Asia, Political Risk Service’s International Country Risk Guide, Vanderbilt University Americas Barometer Survey, the Institute for Management and Development’s World Competitiveness Yearbook, Varieties of Democracy’s Corruption Index, and the World Justice Project’s Rule of Law Index.
MCC Normalized Score = WGI Score – median score
For ease of interpretation, MCC has adjusted the median for each of the two scorecard income pools to zero for all of the Worldwide Governance Indicators. Country scores are calculated by taking the difference between actual scores and the median. For example, in FY20 the unadjusted median for the scorecard category of countries with a Gross National Income (GNI) per capita between $1,926 and $3,995 on Control of Corruption was -0.52 (note, in FY21, the GNI per capita range for this scorecard category is $1,946 to $4,045). In order to set the median at zero, we simply add 0.52 to each country’s score (the same thing as subtracting a negative 0.52). Therefore, as an example, Angola’s FY20 Control of Corruption score, which was originally -1.14, was adjusted to -0.63.
The FY21 scores come from the 2020 update of the Worldwide Governance Indicators dataset and largely reflect performance in calendar year 2019. Since the release of the 2006 update of the Worldwide Governance Indicators, the indicators are updated annually. Each year, the World Bank and Brookings Institution also make minor backward revisions to the historical data. Prior to 2006, the World Bank released data every two years (1996, 1998, 2000, 2002 and 2004). With the 2006 release, the World Bank moved to an annual reporting cycle and provided additional historical data for 2003 and 2005.