There are different forms of corruption. These different forms of corruption can be measured through the use of several methods. It is difficult to obtain data on corruption since it is an activity that is done secretively and at a private level. Corruption indicators include the perception based indicators which are based on the opinions and perceptions of corruption in a given country. The other type of indicator is the experience based indicators which measure the actual experience with corruption. Proxy indicators are also used to measure corruption by gathering opinions and measuring the opposite of corruption which include measuring of good governance as well as public accountability mechanisms.
Some of the grounds under which the attempts of international organizations measure of corruption can be criticized. One of grounds is the fact that there are several types of corruption and their meaning vary from one region to another. Therefore identifying the actual corruption indices is not guaranteed. This is one limitation faced in the measurement of corruption. These methods of measuring corruption also at a risk of losing conceptual clarity. This is because data regarding corruption is gathered from several sources. From the different sources data is also collected differently and it may lead to the loss of conceptual clarity. On the other hand the degree of corruption varies depending on a number of factors such as frequency of the corrupt acts and amounts paid in bribes among others. Due to this it is normally hard to determine which approach to use when measuring.
In general corruption is there but based on the different types and approaches it becomes difficult to determine what is actually being measured for instance using the CPI and the WGI methods.
In the society we live in, people belong to different cultures and these cultures have their own way of doing things and they also have their own way of viewing issues. Narrowing down to corruption in this case, different cultures have different approaches to what they refer to as corruption. Some of the practices that are generally acceptable in some cultures might be corrupt and unacceptable when it comes to a different culture. Therefore based on this aspect it is true that some cultural contexts are more likely to spawn corruption than others.
To begin with, depending on the culture under study, offering of gifts and rewards can be considered ethical or unethical. Some communities consider offering gifts and rewards for services rendered as an acceptable and ethical thing to do. In some other communities the same behavior is found to be unethical and corrupt. On the same, the societal groups formed based on some cultures can either trigger or discourage corruption. For instance when two friends meet and one needs the services of the other, they may consider their friendship while carrying out their operations and favoritism may be as a result of this. Favoritism is also experienced in work places where it takes the place that qualifications should take. This depends on how the two parties relate with each other at a societal level. In some cultures for instance where the leadership is left on the few royal families they tend to use the power for self-gain and the members of the public comply with that as a custom.
In conclusion, cultures are different and some practices in these cultures either encourage or discourage corruption.
Eckstein, (1988, pp. 790/791) ‘Culture, in contrast to opportunity structures
- Andersson and P. M. Heywood (2009) ‘The Politics of Perception: Use and Abuse of Transparency International’s Approach to Measuring Corruption’, Political Studies, Vol. 57, No. 4, pp. 746-767