Quality of Government and Corruption from a European Perspective

Quality of Government and Corruption from a European Perspective

A Comparative Study of Good Government in EU Regions

Nicholas Charron, Victor Lapuente and Bo Rothstein

In this book the authors tackle the concept of ‘quality of government’ (QoG) both conceptually and empirically and apply their focus to EU countries and regions. In a pioneering empirical effort, they map out regional QoG for the first time for 172 NUTS 1 and 2 regions throughout 18 countries in the EU, and provide a detailed methodology. They follow up the quantitative assessment with three case studies demonstrating the wide variation of QoG found within the countries of Italy, Belgium and Romania. The book concludes with important lessons and ideas for future research.

Chapter 3: Evaluating EU countries by QoG: national level

Nicholas Charron

Subjects: politics and public policy, european politics and policy, public policy, regulation and governance


As noted in the introduction to this book, most of us who follow current events and politics in Europe are fully aware that certain countries are plagued with higher corruption, weaker rule of law and a less impartial bureaucracy. We frequently hear in the media about problems in countries such as Greece, Bulgaria, Italy, and Romania, while certain countries, mainly in the north such as Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Finland, provide relatively high-quality public services that are generally clean of corruption. Yet, in the social sciences, we must of course take these insights one step further and attempt to measure them more scientifically so that we can make meaningful comparisons. Luckily, at the national level at least, a surge of data has entered the field since roughly the mid-1990s. In the end, however, among all the recent sources of data, we must choose the best and most appropriate source with which to map QoG in the EU. In this chapter, we briefly discuss several of the leading data alternatives and then go into some detail about the measurement used in this study: the World Bank Governance Indicators (‘WGI’, Kaufmann et al. 2009).

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