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Measurements and markets: deconstructing the corruption perception index

William De Maria (UQ Business School, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia)

International Journal of Public Sector Management

ISSN: 0951-3558

Article publication date: 3 October 2008




The paper aims to examine how the measurement of African “corruption” has been manipulated to serve western economic interests.


In depth secondary source analysis within a post‐colonial framework.


The most popular measure of corruption, Transparency International's corruption perception index (CPI), is a flawed instrument. Capable only of calculating proxies of corruption, the measure is oblivious to cultural variance and is business‐centric in style. The CPI is embraced in good faith by African governments and donor organisations oblivious to its deeper purpose of serving western economic and geo‐political interests under the guise of weeding out something falsely portrayed as a universal negative.

Practical implications

The paper will assist efforts to ground the anti‐corruption effort in the realities of Africa.


The paper is part of a minority scholarship that seeks to provide space for the consideration of alternatives to the dominant conceptions of corruption and its measurement.



De Maria, W. (2008), "Measurements and markets: deconstructing the corruption perception index", International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 21 No. 7, pp. 777-797.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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