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Myths and Realities of Governance and Corruption

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The World Economic Forum • Global Competitiveness Report 2005-2006 • Chapter 2.1 by D. Kaufmann • Synthesis; also available in French, SpanishRussian, and Arabic

A number of popular notions and outright myths on governance and corruption are addressed in this chapter. We distinguish clearly between governance and anti-corruption, while probing the links between both notions. In so doing we challenge the conventional definition of corruption as being too narrow, legalistic and unduly focused on the public sector, while underplaying the role of the private sector. We then challenge the notion that governance and corruption cannot be measured, showcasing the latest worldwide governance indicators, measuring six dimensions of governance and cover over 200 countries, based on multiple sources, including the EOS. Thanks to these governance indicators and related datasets, it has been possible to study the extent to which governance and anticorruption matters.

Consistent with the adage that ‘sunlight is the best disinfectant’, the potential gains of embarking on a transparency reform strategy is given particular prominence in this chapter, and a detailed 12-point ‘scorecard’ for countries to rate themselves in terms of the implementation of concrete transparency measures is presented. The chapter then concludes with a call for a global compact on governance and anti-corruption, where the G-8 and other rich countries, the multinationals, IFIs, civil society and the government leadership in the emerging economies share responsibility in making concerted progress.


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