This module will help you understand what corruption is and how it is measured by different institutions in different ways. Measuring and defining corruption lie at the heart of academic analysis of this subject and underpin the debate about effective policy making and how to tackle corruption in practice.

There are now multiple ways of measuring corruption. But what is being measured – and does the measurement give us an accurate picture? Beyond the well-known perception-based measurements, the module will explore experiences, the use of proxies, the nature of informal practices and local values in promoting integrity as alternative ways to measure corruption.

You will discover whether well-known measures distort the narrative of corruption in relation to the Global South and global financial centres, how definition and measurement affect policy making in areas ranging from the private sector to international development, and the history of corruption definitions.

Module Lead: Rebecca Dobson-Phillips

What you’ll learn

The module will introduce you to the well-known aggregate indicators of corruption (e.g., Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, the World Bank Governance Indicators) as well as newer, more focussed measures of corruption, and some of the now large array of proxy indicators of corrupt practice.

You will explore the core assumptions behind various ways of measuring corruption in different contexts and evaluate their strengths and limitations.

This will give you the tools to explain the pros and cons of some anti-corruption policy interventions and look at alternative ways of tackling this phenomenon. You will draw on and enhance your own regional and contextual expertise to explore more context-specific measures of corruption.

The module draws on the research conducted by colleagues in the Centre for the Study of Corruption, on topics as diverse as public procurement, football and Ukraine.

By the end of the module, you’ll be able to:

  • demonstrate an understanding of the core assumptions of measuring corruption, including their rationales and limitations
  • apply this knowledge about corruption measurement to analyse policy interventions and assess their strengths and weaknesses
  • propose viable solutions to measuring corruption in various sectors and policies and evaluate those proposed solutions against identified criteria
  • discuss corruption with colleagues, peers and friends in a well-informed manner, based on a secure foundation of knowledge and analysis.

Types of assessment may include:

  • a written report (40%) – you’ll focus on one country and three sectors
  • a written evaluation (30%) – you’ll assess attitudes to corruption
  • a written analysis (30%) – you’ll analyse a measure of corruption.