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The 9th International Anti-Corruption Conference

The Papers

Corruption Indexes of Coalition 2000


Survey Methodology
Chief Problems Faced by Bulgaria
Corruption Indexes
Attitudes Towards Corruption
Corrupt Practices
Assessment of the Scope of Corruption
Expectations Concerning the Development of Corruption

Survey Methodology Sample

National representative survey of the population covering 1122 respondants aged 18 and over.

Survey method

The survey used the method of the face-to-face interview.

Field work

Field work was conducted between March 27 - April 16, 1999

Chief Problems Faced by Bulgaria

According to public opinion, corruption is among the five most critical problems faced by Bulgaria today. There nevertheless appears a certain decline in the importance attached to this social phenomenon which was cited by 38.5% in February and 34.2% in April 1999.

Table 1. Chief Problems Faced by Bulgaria
  February '99 April '99
Unemployment 58.4% 64.1%
Low incomes 51.3% 49.1%
Crime 45.4% 39.1%
Corruption 38.5% 34.2%
Poverty 31.6% 32.9%
High prices 22.9% 20.5%
Political instability 17.7% 20.2%
Healthcare 11.5% 9.2%
Pollution 3.6% 5.2%
Education 2.7% 2.9%
Ethnic problems 2.1% 2.4%
Respondants gave up to three answers and the sum total of percentages therefore exceeds 100.

Base: N=1122

Corruption Indexes
  • Corruption indexes are among the important outputs of the Corruption Monitoring System (CMS) of Coalition 2000. Their values will be updated quarterly based on survey data.

  • Corruption assessment index numbers assume values from 0-10.

  • The closer the value of the indexes is to 10, the more negative are the assessments of the evaluated aspect of corruption in Bulgaria. Index numbers closer to 0 indicate approximation to the ideal of a "corruption-free" society.

  • Corruption indexes have been grouped into several categories:
    • Attitudes towards corruption;
    • Corrupt practices;
    • Assessment of the spread of corruption;
    • Corruption-related expectations.

Attitudes Towards Corruption

Acceptability in Principle

Reflects the level of tolerance towards various corrupt practices within the value system of the bulgarians.

The value of this index in April 1999 is 2.1 and shows that corruption is firmly perceived as a morally inadmissable social phenomenon.

As compared to the month of February no tangible changes in popular attitudes have been registered.

Compared to the month of June 1998 there appears a certain, even if slight, tendency towards increased tolerance to some typical corrupt practices - the acceptance of money, gifts, or services on the part of public officials.

Figure 1. Acceptability in Principle

Susceptibility to Corruption

Measures the inclination to compromise with principles and values under the pressure of circumstances.

In April 1999 the index of susceptibility to corruption was 3.2%, reaching its lowest point since the beginning of teh study, which could be interpreted as increased disagreement with everyday compromises with corruption.
Figure 2. Susceptibility to Corruption

Corrupt Practices

Corruption Pressure

Registers the frequency of attempts by public officials to exert direct or indirect pressure on citizens and solicit money, gifts, and services.

In April 1999, the value of the corruption pressure index was 1.5.This suggests that direct corrupting coercion is relatively uncommon.

Compared to both the months of June 1998 and February 1999, the corruption pressure index displays a tendancy towards gradual decline.
Figure 3. Corruption Pressure

Corrupt Practices

The data obtained indicate that corrupt behavior is most frequently encountered among customs and police officers, doctors, and officials in the judicial system. Over one fifth of the citizens who have had contacts with such officials had experienced corruption pressure. With businesspersons, municipal officials, judges, and university teachers this percentage is about two times smaller.

It is interesting to note that the pressure exerted by the representatives of one of the most common occupations - teachers, is very low.
Table 2. "If in the course of the past year you have been asked for something in order to have a problem of yours solved, you were asked by:"
  February '99 April '99
%* Base** %* Base**
Customs officer 17.3 202 27.90 157
Police officer 22.3 367 22.80 352
Doctor 26.6 790 21.50 771
Administrative staff from the judicial system 15.9 251 20.40 225
Businessperson 13.4 374 12.00 375
Municipal official 15.6 537 11.50 513
Judge 8.6 209 10.90 170
University teacher of official 12.4 218 9.50 207
Municipal Council member 8.9 257 8.60 217
Prosecutor 5.5 182 7.90 154
Criminal investigator 7.4 175 7.90 154
Ministry official 5.4 168 6.70 135
Tax official 9.5 526 6.60 494
Teacher 3.4 468 4.80 410
Member of Parliment 2.5 160 4.80 118
* Relative share of those who have had such contacts, who have been asked for money, gifts, or services.

**Number of respondents who have had contacts with the respective officials in the course of the past year.

Corrupt Practices

Reflects the self-assessed/acknowledged personal involvement of respondents in forms of corrupt behavior.

In April 1999, the index of corrupt practices measured 0.9. This low value suggests that a relatively small number of Bulgarian citizens are involved in corruption.

The comparison with the months of June 1998 and February 1999 shows that the index of corrupt practices has retained nearly the same value. In turn, this indicates that a certain portion of the population firmly adheres to such a model of bahavior.
Figure 4. Corrupt Practices

Assessments of the Spread of Corruption

Spread of Corruption

Records assessments of the spread of corrupt practices among public officials.

The value of this index in April 1999 was 6.3 and confirms the thesis that corrupt behavior is perceived as a commonplace practice.

Compared to the month of Feruary 1999 public opinion appears to assess corrupt practices in this country as slightly less widespread.
Figure 5. Spread of Corruption

Spread of Corruption

According to public opinion, the chief preconditions for the massive spread of corruption are of an economic character.

The shortcomings of the legislative, administrative, and judicial systems are also among the factors determining the level of corruption in this country.

No significant changes in public attitudes appear to have occurred in the period February - April 1999.

The comparison between the two periods suggests the presence of stable popular perceptions of the causes engendering corruption.
Table 3. Major Factors Accounting for the Spread of Corruption in this Country

  February '99 April '99
Fast personal enrichment sought by those in power 53.5% 52.9%
Low salaries 51.9% 51.5%
Imperfect legislation 41.1% 38.8%
Lack of strict administrative control 35.2% 36.4%
Intertwinement of official duties and personal interests 25.1% 25.8%
Ineffectiveness of the judicial system 26.4% 19.6%
Moral crisis in the period of transition 19.4% 19.4%
Specific characteristics of Bulgarian national culture 5.7% 6.9%
Problems inherited from the communist past 10.9% 6.8%

Spread of Corruption

According to public opinion, corruption is most widespread among customs officers, lawyers, judges, prosecutors, and police officers. They are followed by businesspersons, doctors, tax officials, and ministry officials. Rated last are journalists, NGO representatives, and teachers. In the period February - April 1999, there appear to have occurred no substantial changes in popular assessments of the spread of corruption within the various occupational groups.

The most significant favorable change in popular attitudes has occurrd with respect to the spread of corruption among doctors. Public opinion also appears more tolerant towards municipal officials and political leaders.
Table 4. "According to you, how widespread is corruption among the following groups:"
  "Nearly all" and "most are involved in corruption " (%)
February '99 April '99
Customs officers 73.3 73.2
Lawyers 55.5 55.4
Judges 49.5 50.8
Prosecutors 48.5 50.0
Police officers 51.5 49.2
Businesspersons 49.5 47.6
Doctors 56.9 46.0
Tax officials 47.1 45.2
Ministry officials 42.5 41.9
Criminal investigators 43.6 41.8
Administrative staff from the judicial system 42.0 40.5
Municipal officials 44.3 39.6
Members of parliament 39.0 37.7
Ministers 39.1 35.3
Leaders of political parties and coalitions 40.5 31.1
University teachers or officials 29.5 28.5
Local political leaders 34.0 27.5
Municipal Council members 31.2 26.4
Journalists 12.7 12.0
Representatives of non-governmental organizations 16.3 11.5
Teachers 12.6 8.4
Base: N=1122

Spread of Corruption

The institutional spread of corruption largely reproduces the structure by occuptional groups. Corruption is believed to be extremely high in customs, the judicial system, the Privatization Agency, the police, and tax services. According to public opinion, corruption is least widespread in the Bulgarian Natinal Bank, the army, the National Statistical Intitute, and the Presidency.
Table 5. "According to you, how widespread is corruption among the following institutions:"
  Index Base*
Customs 8.78 927
Judicial system 7.62 864
Privatization Agency 7.46 632
Police 7.16 903
Tax services 7.10 871
Foreign Aid Agency 7.02 549
Sector ministries 6.94 735
District administration 6.90 706
Parliament 6.78 781
Municipal administration 6.64 823
Government 6.58 785
Committee on Energy 6.40 589
Securities and Stock-Exchanges Commission 6.24 389
Commission on the Protection of Competition 6.14 401
Committee on Posts and Telecommunications 5.86 609
National Audit Chamber 5.74 402
Bulgarian National Bank 5.34 556
Army 4.88 774
National Statistical Institute 4.8 456
Presidency 4.46 674
* Number of respondents who made an assessment of the spread of corruption in the respective institutions.

Spread of Corruption

Over half of those interviewed cited customs as teh institution in which corruption is most widespread. Clearly, customs have come to be firmly established in public consciousness as a notorious hotbed of corruption.
Table 6. "According to you, in which of the enumerated institutions is corruption most widespread:"
Customs 51.1
Judicial system 10.4
Tax services 6.7
Police 6.6
Parliament 5.4
Privatization Agency 5.0
Government 4.3
Municipal administration 3.9
Sector ministries 1.8
District administration 1.0
Committee on Energy 1.0
Army 0.8
Foreign Aid Agency 0.6
Committee on Posts and Telecommunications 0.4
Securities and Stock-Exchanges Commission 0.4
Presidency 0.3
Bulgarian National Bank 0.2
National Statistical Institute 0.2
National Audit Chamber 0.1
Commission on the Protection of Competition 0.0
Base: N=928

Spread of Corruption

One in three respondents cited the Presidency as the institution in which corruption is least widespread. It was followed by the Army, National Statistical Institute, and Bulgarian National Bank. Placed at the bottom of this rating were customs, Securities and Stock Exchanges Commission, Parliament, the Committee on Energy, the Privatization Agency, and the judicial system. Those are the institutions perceived by public opinion as the principle seedbeds of corruption in this country.
Table 7. "According to you, in which of the enumerated institutions is corruption least widespread:"
Presidency 32.0
Army 22.8
National Statistical Institute 11.0
Bulgarian National Bank 9.9
Committee on Posts and Telecommunications 5.2
Municipal administration 3.9
National Audit Chamber 2.9
Tax services 2.5
Police 1.5
Government 1.2
Sector ministries 1.2
Foreign Aid Agency 1.2
District administration 1.0
Commission on the Protection of Competition 1.0
Customs 0.8
Securities and Stock Exchange Commission 0.6
Parliament 0.5
Committee on Energy 0.4
Privatization Agency 0.3
Judicial system 0.1
Base: N=803

Practical efficiency of Corruption

Reflects citizens' perceptions of the extent to which corruption has evolved into an efficient means of solving personal problems.

In April 1999 the index sstill held a high value -6.7. These results confirm mass attitudes that corrupt behaviour is sociall successful. In the long term, however, the index displays a tendency toward decline. In turn, this points to the favorable direction in which citizens' views are evolving.
Figure 6. Practical Efficiency of Corruption

Corruption Expectations

Records assessments of the capability (the potential) of Bulgarian society to cope with corruption.

In mid-1998 the value of this index was 5.0 which indicated the presence of moderate pessimism among Bulgarian citizens. In the period June 1998 - Feruary 1999, however, the pessimism of the Bulgarian public regarding the likelihood of curbing corruption maked a slight increase. Since then the index has remaind unchanged revealing stable public attitudes in the respect.
Figure 7. Corruption Expectations

Vitosha Research (VR) is a social and market research agency and the survey research unit of the Center for the Study of Democracy, Sofia.

Vitosha Research specializes in carrying out social and market research in the fields of privatization, social policies, economic, political and electoral behaviour, value orientations and attitudes of Bulgarians, public opinion studies, surveys of the media audiences and programs, advertising research and others.

1, Lazar Stanev Street
1113 Sofia
Tel.: 971 3000
Fax : 971 2233
E-Mail: vr@online.bg

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