An Axiomatic Approach to the Measurement of Corruption: Theory and Applications

OPHI Working Papers

In this paper we demonstrate that the axiomatic measurement approach developed in the poverty and inequality literature can be usefully applied to the measurement of corruption. We develop a conceptual framework for organizing corruption data and discuss several objective, aggregate corruption measures consistent with axiomatic requirements. We then provide an empirical application of the methodology and estimate the respective corruption measures for a sample of over 25 countries during the year 2000. Our empirical analysis reveals significant discrepancies between the country rankings generated by these measures and those provided by the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) from Transparency International. To our knowledge, this paper represents a first analysis of corruption measurement using an axiomatic framework. 

Authors: James Foster, Andrew W. Horowitzand Fabio Méndez

Year: 2009

Citation: Foster, J., Horowitz, A. W. and Méndez, F. (2009). 'An axiomatic approach to the measurement of corruption: Theory and applications', OPHI Working Paper 29, Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), University of Oxford.

This paper is also published in The World Bank Economic Review, 2012, Vol. 26(2), pp. 217–235.

corruption, illegal behaviour, corruption measurement, legal institutions


James Foster, Andrew W. Horowitz and Fabio Méndez

Series Name
OPHI Working Papers
Publication date
JEL Codes
K42, O17, P37
Publication Number
WP 29