What do you get if you cross anti-corruption activists with mathematicians? It’s no joke. This was exactly what we did in Cape Coast, Ghana, recently, bringing these two groups together to analyse procurement data for evidence of corruption ‘red flags’ in a two-day hackathon at AIMS Ghana.
By Liz Dávid-Barrett (University of Sussex) and Mihály Fazekas (University of Cambridge).
Follow us on Twitter @corruption_red
The anti-corruption world has a tendency to pin its hopes on transparency as a solution, and recently in particular on the idea that big data will revolutionise the fight against corruption. The logic is compelling. Whereas we always relied heavily on subjective perceptions to measure corruption, big data allows for more objective evidence about how – and how much – administrative procedures are subverted and manipulated.
But some profound obstacles remain. The most obvious is that, before data can be analysed, it needs to be collected. Yet many governments – especially in developing countries – struggle to collect relevant data of a reasonable quality.