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Measurement Problems: A Focus on Governance

NCJ Number
Forum on Crime and Society Volume: 2 Issue: 1 Dated: December 2002 Pages: 33-44
Michael Johnston; Sahr J. Kpundeh
Date Published
December 2002
12 pages
This article explores how to better measure the problem of corruption by looking at aspects of governance.
Corruption is difficult to measure because it is difficult to police. Those involved in corrupt practices produce no victims who may complain to police. Further, those involved benefit from the corrupt activity and therefore have a vested interest in keeping it secret. As such, measuring the amount, results, and intensity of corruption is nearly impossible. However, the authors argue that the best way to measure corruption is indirectly, through an examination of aspects of governance that provide both the incentives to engage in corrupt practices and reveal the effects of corrupt practices. Corruption affects governance on many levels that may be measured, such as the time, the expense, and the number of steps involved in obtaining or providing routine government services. The experiences of citizens and businesses who deal with government officials and the quality of routine governmental output speak volumes about the ways in which corruption affects governance. The gathering of such data becomes an internal monitoring check and broadens the base of responsibility to include managers, private clients, and citizens as they are brought into the assessment and accountability process. By approaching the assessment of corruption in this way, society shifts from treating corruption as an isolated event to be dealt with by specialized agencies to a complex problem rooted deeply within all aspects of society. References