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Corruption in statistics production

A number of international standards and codes set out ethical practices for the production of statistics. While these do not typically focus on curbing corruption per se, many of their prescriptions overlap with safeguards that can help curb corruption. Corruption and integrity violations in the production and dissemination of statistics may arise in different forms at different stages of the “data processing cycle”, from the data collection phase to data analysis and publication. Corruption in statistics can also take place at various levels, from political interference and undue influence at the policymaking level, down to petty corruption at the interface with citizens, such as embezzlement by household survey enumerators tasked with collecting data.

16 December 2020
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Corruption in statistics production

Main points

  • While not specifically designed to tackle corruption, international standards intended to promote professionalism and high quality statistical outputs contain prescriptive provisions that can help promote integrity and minimise the risk of corruption in the production of statistics.
  • Specific corruption risks may occur at different points of the data processing cycle. For example, bribery and bid rigging in procurement could be a risk at the data collection stage when the task is outsourced.
  • A central concern for both the validity and integrity of statistical work is curbing political interference.
  • Certain types of data may be particularly susceptible to corrupt manipulation, including macroeconomic, government performance and trade data.

Cite this publication

Rahman, K.; (2020) Corruption in statistics production. Bergen: U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, Chr. Michelsen Institute (U4 Helpdesk Answer 2020:28)

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About the author

Kaunain Rahman

Kaunain received her Master's in Corruption and Governance from The Centre for the Study of Corruption at the University of Sussex in the UK where her focus area of research was corruption in international business. She works as Research Coordinator at Transparency International (TI), and her main responsibilities lie with the Anti-Corruption Helpdesk.


All views in this text are the author(s)’, and may differ from the U4 partner agencies’ policies.

This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International licence (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)