Brazil worsens in corruption and public power effectiveness


Author: José Meirelles Passos

Source: O Globo, 11/07/2007

WASHINGTON. A survey by the World Bank (Bird), carried out from 2002 to 2006, shows that corruption and government efficiency worsened in the country, as did regulatory quality.
Of the six indices referring to the “Global Governance Indicators for 2006”, released yesterday by the World Bank (Bird), Brazil had a – slight – improvement in only two of them: there was an increase in “voice and transparency – an item that refers to the ability of citizens to in choosing their rulers, as well as freedom of expression, association and the press — and political stability and the absence of violence in the political sector grew.

This is a study that Bird has been conducting regularly for six years, collecting data from 30 different sources in 212 countries and territories. The score follows a specific criterion: the index given to each nation, in each of the six categories, indicates the percentage of countries that are in the worst situation.
For example, when a country scores 70% in a category, it means that 70% of the other countries are worse off and 30% are better off.

Political stability in Brazil went from 41% to 43,3% In terms of “corruption control”, which refers to the extent to which public power is geared towards the benefit of the private sector — “including both large and small forms of corruption, as well as the capture of the State by elites and private interests”, Brazil registered the biggest drop: it obtained 47,1% in 2006, when in 2002 it had obtained a much better position: 60%.

With reference to the effectiveness of the government, in Brazil, the index fell, in that period, from 55% to 52,1%. Regulatory quality (which is the government's ability to formulate and implement policies and regulations) dropped from 57% to 54,1%. And in maintaining the rule of law — “which measures, in particular, the quality of contract enforcement, the quality of the police and the courts, as well as the likelihood of crime and violence” — the decline recorded by the Bird was 43,5 % to 41,4%.
The improvements pointed out by the research took place in two indices.

In “voice and transparency”, Brazil rose from 56% to 58,7%. And in “political stability” it went from 41% to 43,3%: — Measuring governance presents unique challenges. Governance is complex and has many different aspects. Therefore, no single indicator can fully capture a country's governance performance. That's why it's important to get data from a variety of available sources, as we did,” said Aart Kraay, leader of the team of economists at the World Bank's Development Research Group.

In 2006, US$ 1 trillion was spent on bribes. Chile, Costa Rica and Uruguay were the countries with the best rates in Latin America.
Chileans stood out. In terms of “corruption control”, for example, they obtained 89,8% – that is, a higher rate than the United States, which reached 89,3%. Venezuela, in turn, reached no more than 12,6% in this item, according to the same survey.

By Bird estimates no less than $1 trillion was spent on bribes last year.

The worst of this, according to the report released yesterday, is that “the burden of corruption falls disproportionately on the backs of one billion people who live in extreme poverty”.

The survey carried out by the Bird also proved that, in cases where governance improved, there was a two-thirds decline in infant mortality and the population's income increased three times in the long term.