Corruption Perceptions Index 2008 going social?


Today, Transparency International released its 2008 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI). In its visual appearance it is as all indices a simple table. Asking myself how the score relates to each country’s rather complex national reality, and therefore how the CPI, measuring only public sector corruption, could be complemented with additional information, I came up with a couple of ideas related to how the information is presented.

As a first step, improving the visualisation of the data can make it more accessible. So here’s the CPI as a world map. The Tactical Technology Collective has developed a nice guide on how to visualise information for advocacy. But better, make it an interactive google map. And the final step should be to use the crowd to enhance the information that is available in the map contributing real-time information – national news stories, bribing experiences and the like.

Secondly, you can explain the data with a press release. But you can also explain it with a youtube-video. Automatically the video relates to others on similar issues. Additionally viewers can comment on it, add their own videos, and engage into a conversation.

No research stands alone and needs to be seen in context with other data. The World Freedom Atlas, developed by Zachary Johnson at the University of Wisconsin, provides an interactive visualisation tool for world statistics on issues of freedom, democracy, human rights and good governance. Other examples of great presentation of information in world maps can be found developed by Maplecroft and, “as you’ve never seen it before”, on the Worldmapper website. In a future post I’ll share more interactive and social mapping projects.

But in the end, does a table, a statistic, or a number mean much to people? It works well for academics and rankings are great for the media. And it is of course a question of how to measure corruption in the first place (see the Users’ Guide to Measuring Corruption by Global Integrity, or the Mapping of Corruption and Governance Measurement Tools in Sub-Saharan Africa, by Transparency International), by the way to be discussed at the 13th IACC as well.

But on the other hand it has not much to do with what happens on the streets, in hospitals or in public institutions. An index meaningful to people needs to be connected to their lives and realities. More tools that combine facts and personal experience, as well as engage people in a conversation need to be developed. This will allow us to gain a more comprehensive picture of what is it exactly we are dealing with when we want to fight corruption.

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5 Responses to “Corruption Perceptions Index 2008 going social?”

  1. And the scores are in… (Transparency International CPI 2008) « The 8th Circle Says:

    […] Some really neat stuff can be found at Accountability 2.0, including an interactive google map that visualizes the CPI scores, a World Freedom Atlas, […]

  2. Jonathan Werve Says:

    I completely agree on the need for “more than numbers” particularly these big national-level numbers that can’t be unpacked into any component parts. This comes through pretty strongly in our book, A Users Guide to Measuring Corruption, which you cite here. We’ve really tried to create unpackable metrics that give you specific points of intervention, and have tried to pair those numbers with qualitative data ( random example: ). So that’s our approach. But you’re hinting at something different and very interesting — connecting these metrics to the social web, which could be very powerful. We’re toying with this, but have much to learn. If you will be at the IACC, I would love to get together at some point.

    Cheers, Jonathan Werve at Global Integrity.

  3. Georg Neumann Says:

    It is a challenge to find the real balance between numbers, in-debt analysis of laws, regulations and institutions, as well as citizen experience with corruption. Each of the components is serving a different purpose. It would be great to discuss how the experiences of citizens can be captured and used, but also, how people can be helped (which is in the end what counts). It would be good to met up at the IACC. I’m planning to be at session on Empirical Tools for Governance and Corruption Analysis, so see you there at the latest.

  4. Jonathan Werve Says:

    Georg: I’ll be on the panel for that Empirical Tools session along with UNDP and TI folks. If I don’t see you earlier, grab me after we present.

  5. Changing the fight against corruption « ACCOUNTABILITY 2.0 Says:

    […] 2.0 Using social media to change how we fight corruption « Corruption Perceptions Index 2008 going social? Engaging the corporate sector against corruption through social media advocacy? […]

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