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  • Counting, Measuring and

    Conceptualising Corruption:

    what is or can be the use of

    official statistics?

    Dr. Michael Levi

    Professor of Criminology

    Cardiff University 44-29-20874376

    Brussels, 2017

  • Corruption data a

    meaningful construct?

    0 What do we want data for, and how serious are we?

    0 What do we count, whom do we count and where do we count them?

    0 If corruption is a necessary prelude to ongoing crime networks, how often do we count the corruption and where?

    0 Counting victimisations, counting consensual illicit acts

    Activity/input indicators, output indicators and outcome indicators

    Activities per what? Population? GDP? Contracts?

    Indicators that provoke discussion (inc official data)

    Measuring costs of implementation on all parties

  • Waving or Drowning in Data?

    Administrative data and data sharing on actions

    You only find out who is swimming naked when the

    tide goes out. (Warren Buffett 2001)

    A rise in crime rates can be an index of social

    progress rather than social decay

  • The China Syndrome

  • Community approaches

    1. Community crime prevention 2. Passive citizen participation:

    - giving information about harms and risks, whistle-blower hotlines 3. Active citizen participation: civic action groups/Communist Party

    Regulatory Disruption and non Justice system approaches

    1. Regulatory policies, programmes & agencies (domestic inc. Chinese Central Commission for Discipline and Inspection & foreign, including Council of Europe/EU/FATF/IMF/OECD/World Bank)

    2. Faster customs & other regulatory treatment for firms & countries that have approved internal compliance programmes

    3. Routine & suspicious activity reports as investigative triggers 4. Tax policy and programmes (HMRC Criminal Taxes Unit) 5. Civil injunctions and other sanctions (RICO, contract vetting, SCPOs) 6. Military interventions 7. Security and secret intelligence services 8. Foreign policy/aid programmes (certification, EU accession)

    Private sector involvement

    1. Individual corporate responses 2. Professional and industry associations 3. Special private sector action bodies (CIFAS, IFB, FACT, FFUK) 4. Anti-Identity fraud, anti-corruption and money laundering software 5. Private policing and forensic accounting Levi (2012); see also Levi and Maguire (2004)

    Non-traditional forms of Serious Crime Containment

  • The Dishonest Politicians

    Guide to Crime Control 0 Generate a number for prevalence, harm or

    effectiveness that suits the bureaucratic and/or moral


    0 This then becomes a fact by repetition

    0 G20 communiqu by Global Financial Integrity 2011

    0 But the larger the figure, the less likely it is that any

    law enforcement of preventative measures will impact

    significantly on it

    0 So why do people almost never match crime costs

    global, national or local - with control measures in


    0 Can we resist the media and political demands?

    0 If not, what are the consequences?

  • Counting Crimes or Counting

    Harms? 0 Counting crimes is what we do, ignoring problems of

    how victims can know the intent of offenders

    0 But we sometimes also count organised crime

    groups nationally plus references to foreign

    countries or hubs

    0 Do we multiply count corruption in every country the

    drugs or people pass through?

    0 How do we evaluate the harmfulness of corruption

    arising in a third party country and should we include

    it solely in their crime statistics and/or in ours if one

    of our citizens or denizens is doing the corrupting?

    0 Counting domestic v counting transnational bribery

    payers, receivers and perhaps launderers of

    corruption proceeds

  • Harm and Risk Three dimensions of harm and risk:

    Economic costs (present/future) & impact upon victims and upon third parties who fear being defrauded

    What the media represent the risks to be drives politics

    Continuing risks arising from the kind of people who are committing financial crimes

    Organised criminals with no stake in social respectability to constrain them and growing access to corruptible/ pressurisable staff, especially in recession

    What they spend their money on (terrorism, political corruption, running for office, business) - though mostly on party-going

    So do we need to combine victim surveys with offender location studies, & how do we do that for low-clear ups?

    We need sentinel trend data, not precise numbers

    Alice in Wonderland: which way should I go?

  • M Levi , Cardiff University


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