Toward an Episodic Process of Corruption: An analysis of the State Integrity Risk Assessment Tool
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Objective: This dissertation evaluates and critiques a widely-cited scale that seeks to measure governmental susceptibility to corruption. The Center for Public Integrity in Washington, DC, formulated a risk assessment scale and then applied it to all 50 states. This dissertation examines that scale’s conceptual, methodological, and statistical aspects and suggests ways to improve it. Method: The indicators from the assessment’s scales are broken down conceptually, in terms of both historical and contemporary relevance, and the data are analyzed to determine their reliability and validity. Results: Many indicators used to assess risk of corruption are not justifiable conceptually or statistically. Deficiencies stem largely from simplistic and archaic understandings of how corruption occurs, as well as substantial problems of reliability and validity. For example, defining redistricting processes as a substantive predictor of corruption is untenable in a contemporary setting. Conclusions: Future risk assessment tools should be refined to place greater emphasis on procedures leading to corruption, while paying less attention to evaluating levels of transparency.