Measuring corruption - in the statistical sense - is naturally not a straight-forward matter, since the participants are generally not forthcoming about it. Transparency International, the leading anti-corruption NGO, provides three measures, updated annually: a Corruption Perceptions Index (based on experts' opinions of how corrupt different countries are); a Global Corruption Barometer (based on a survey of general public attitudes toward and experience of corruption); and a Bribe Payers Survey, looking at the willingness of foreign firms to pay bribes. The World Bank collects a range of data on corruption, including a set of Governance Indicators.
Since 1995, Transparency International has published an annual Index of perception of corruption ordering the countries of the world according to "the degree to which corruption is perceived to exist among public officials and politicians." The organization defines corruption as "the abuse of public office for private gain".
The 2003 poll covered 133 countries; the 2005 survey, 159. A higher score means less (perceived) corruption. The results show seven out of every ten countries (and nine out of every ten developing countries) with an index of less than 5 points out of 10.
Thailand on survey 2005: index = 38 rank 59 out of 159 countries
In the US, based on public corruption convictions, Mississippi, North Dakota and Louisiana were the three most corrupt states. Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oregon, and Iowa had the least amount of corruption. The largest states, California and Texas, are ranked in the middle, California ranking 25th and Texas in 29th.
In short, there are some ways to improve the governance as a direct enhancement of well-being and health for Thai population in the future.
Good governance defines an ideal which is difficult to achieve in its totality. However, to ensure sustainable human development, actions must be taken to work towards this ideal. Major donors and international financial institutions, like the IMF or World Bank, are increasingly basing their aid and loans on the condition that reforms ensuring good governance are undertaken.
Good governance can be understood as a set of 8 major characteristics:
- participation ,
- rule of law ,
- transparency ,
- consensus oriented,
- equity and inclusiveness,
- effectiveness and efficiency and
- accountability .
These characteristics assure that
- corruption is minimized,
- the views of minorities are taken into account and
- that the voices of the most vulnerable in society are heard in decision-making
- Participation by both men and women.
- Participation could be either direct or through legitimate intermediate institutions or representatives.
- Participation also means freedom of association and expression on the one hand and an organized civil society on the other hand.
Rule of law
- Good governance requires fair legal frameworks that are enforced impartially.
- Full protection of human rights, particularly those of minorities.
- It also means independent judiciary and an impartial and incorruptible police force.
- Decisions taken and their enforcement are done in a manner that follows rules and regulations.
- Information is freely available and directly accessible to those who will be affected by such decisions and their enforcement.
- Institutions and processes try to serve all stakeholders within a reasonable timeframe.
- Need of mediation of the different interests in society to reach a broad consensus in society on what is in the best interest of the whole community and how this can be achieved.
- It also requires a long-term perspective for sustainable human development and how to achieve the goals of such development.
Equity and inclusiveness
- Ensuring that all members of society feel that they have a stake in it and do not feel excluded from the mainstream.
- This requires all groups, and especially the most vulnerable to have opportunities to maintain or improve their well being.
Effectiveness and efficiency
- Processes and institutions produce results that meet the needs of society while making the best use of resources at their disposal.
- It also means sustainable use of natural resources and the protection of the environment.
- Governmental institutions as well as the private sector and civil society organizations must be accountable to the public and to their institutional stakeholders.
- In general organizations and institutions are accountable to those who will be affected by decisions or actions.