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What is corruption?

Corruption has no single definition, but it encompasses a large number of crimes, such as bribery, embezzlement, abuse of functions and trading in influence, which affect processes such as government procurement or the provision of government services and undermine confidence in public institutions, particularly in the Criminal Justice System.

Corruption also affects economic growth and sustainable development, prevents private investment, and creates disruption in the market and in fair competition. Moreover, the boundary between licit and illicit behavior in cases of corruption is not always clearly defined and both victims and perpetrators are co-responsible for these actions..

How can we measure corruption?

Measuring corruption is an extremely complex task considering both the methodological challenges and the political considerations involved. Despite significant progress over the last decade, UNODC is aware that existing methodologies and indicators on corruption require constant development. Even if they are difficult to generate, empirical evidence and high-quality data are the most reliable sources of information for the design of anticorruption strategies and policies.

Based on this need and the goals set out in the Roadmap for the improvement of crime statistics at the national and international level (E/CN.3/2013/11), the UNODC-INEGI Center of Excellence has been leading international efforts for the production of methodological guidelines for the measurement of this phenomenon.

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