The recently published Governance Matters V: Governance Indicators for 1996–2005 is another very useful contribution from the World Bank researchers:
This paper reports on the latest update of the worldwide governance indicators, covering 213 countries and territories and measuring six dimensions of governance: voice and accountability political stability and absence of violence, government effectiveness, regulatory quality, rule of law, and control of corruption. Three new features distinguish this update:
- We have moved to reporting estimates of governance on an annual basis. In this update we provide new estimates of governance for 2003 and 2005, as well as minor backward revisions to our bi-annual historical data for 1996-2004.
- We are for the first time publishing the individual measures of governance from 28 of the 31 data sources that underlie our aggregate governance indicators. The ready availability of the individual data sources underlying the aggregate governance indicators is aimed at helping data users and policy-makers identify specific governance challenges in individual countries.
- We present new evidence on the reliability of expert assessments of governance which form part of our aggregate measures of governance.
We have also prepared a booklet (2.6 mb PDF) and a separate file for the Appendices (470 kb PDF), which can both be downloaded from this page. The data, as well as a web-based graphical interface, are available at Worldwide Governance Indicators: 1996-2005.
An excerpt from the press statement:
The research, covering well over 200 countries, also shows that more than 12 non-OECD countries, including Botswana and Estonia, score higher in the rule of law and in control of corruption than some industrialized countries like Greece and Italy.
And it shows that democratic accountability and clean government most often go hand in hand.
We find in the evidence that countries that have a freer press also have more transparent government and more effective government and more control of corruption,” says Daniel Kaufmann, a co-author of this report with Aart Kraay and Massimo Mastruzzi.
The research cites countries such as Chile, Portugal and Canada as nations with vibrant democracies and very little corruption. It’s in contrast to countries with what the report calls “voice and accountability challenges such as China and the Russian Federation who tend to have more corruption.”
But it does find there are exceptions to the link between the extent of voice and democratic accountability a country exhibits and its success in controlling corruption. Singapore, for example, is cited as having one of the best rankings in the world on control of corruption, but it ranks in the middle of the pack on voice and accountability – below much poorer countries such as Brazil and Botswana.
The indicators represent one of the largest available databases on governance. The research is based on responses from over 120,000 citizens, enterprises and experts worldwide, provided by 25 different organisations worldwide. These in turn are used to construct the worldwide governance indicators through a state-of-the-art methodology.
Overall, it paints a sobering picture of global trends in governance. The report suggests over the past decade there is little evidence of a significant improvement, on average, among industrialized and developing countries. But it points out that in many specific countries, there have been significant improvements.
Kaufmann says even if these improvements are not universal, the minority of countries where improvements are already evident do suggest where there is leadership and reform, governance and corruption control can improve significantly in a relatively short period of time. At the same time, deterioration can also take place rapidly, as the evidence by these worldwide governance indicators also shows.