At last, and in response to a letter writer in today's Jakarta Post who asks for some good news, here it is. Indonesia is no longer alone at the bottom of Asia's corruption table.
It's now second from bottom!
The survey, by the Political and Economic Risk Consultancy (PERC)
, is a matter of perception. This is partly because it's not actually online for those of us who aren't subscribers and the cost of a subscription is US$575 per year for on-line access to one country, obviously way beyond my means. Or needs.
Also, the survey was conducted on (only?) 1,476 expatriates in Asia from January to February. In my personal, first-hand, experience, corruption increased in this period, yet I wasn't asked for my views. This may be because I'm not classified as a businessman and intellectual bloggers aren't considered to be political or economic risks. Maybe too, these results are skewed because of the feel good factors of post-Christmas and pre-Imlek euphoria.
Have a look at last year's figures
for a more detailed comparison.
Singapore is still top, up from 1.3 to 1.2.
Hong Kong is up to second, with a score of 1.87 from 3.13.
Japan fell from second to third with a 2.10 rating.
Macao remains 4th, albeit down from 4.78 to 5.11.
Taiwan is up to 5th with a dramatic leap of .32 from 5.91.
Malaysia remains 6th, but less trusted with a score of 6.25, down from 6.13.
China is now 7th, up one place, with a score of 6.29
South Korea, to their horror
, fell from 5th to 8th with a score of 6.30, down from 5.44.
India is down the rankings at 9th but up on its score of 6.67.
Vietnam is up a bit at 10th with a score of 7.54.
Indonesia and Thailand both received scores of 8.03 out of 10, equal 11th.
And propping up this list of infamy come the Philippines with a score of 9.40.
Stats are really exciting, aren't they? Oh.
"If you have knowledge of good and bad, then logically you know that corruption is bad.But in Indonesia, sometimes corruption is considered a good thing ..
- Emha Ainun Najib
, preacher and poet
What is perhaps more relevant is the perception of the public, and another piece of research conducted last year makes much more interesting reading, not least because it's free. Published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, and written by Benjamin A. Olken, it is entitled Corruption Perceptions vs. Corruption Reality
.This paper examines the accuracy of beliefs about corruption, using data from Indonesian villages. I find that villagers’ beliefs do contain information about corruption in the road project, and that villagers are sophisticated enough to distinguish between corruption in the road project and other types of corruption in the village.
The magnitude of their information, however, is small, in part because officials hide corruption where it is hardest for villagers to detect. This may limit the effectiveness of grass-roots monitoring of local officials. The findings illustrate the limitations of relying solely on corruption perceptions, whether in designing anti-corruption policies or in conducting empirical research on corruption.
So, don't trust all you read.
Except, of course, for the plain, uncorrupted truth as brought to you by Jakartass.