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Political Integrity


The political integrity module has been co-developed with the Open Government Partnership research team and Transparency International. To capture a breadth of information and data relevant to political integrity and to address key gaps in current data, it addresses five specific sub-themes:

  • Data on political party finance;
  • Data on political interest declarations;
  • Lobbying registers;
  • Data on public consultation in rule-making;
  • Data on right-to-information regime performance.

This is the largest thematic module in the Global Data Barometer 2021 edition and is being used to pilot an extended thematic module approach.

Prospective Indicators

Political Integrity Data and the Public Good

The public good can best be served when there is an open, accountable, and equitable public sphere in which money can not be used to distort fair decision-making related to the public good or access to political office.

Data can be a powerful tool to identify whose interests shape how governance decisions are made and implemented. Within democratic political systems, this involves transparency of political party finance, information on the interests of political decision-makers, information on lobbyists’ interventions, and information on public consultation processes in rule-making, as well as a robust access-to-information system that helps members of the public evaluate and hold to account those in power.

The Barometer’s focus on political integrity data aligns with SDG 16: Peace, justice, and strong institutions, particularly its targets around rule of law (16.3); transparent, accountable institutions (16.6); responsive, inclusive, participatory, and representative decision-making (16.7); and public access to information (16.10).

Use Cases Shaping This Module

Co-developed with the Open Government Partnership and Transparency International, this module seeks to address gaps in existing understanding of data-related political integrity practices.

This module will support both policy-makers and civil society organizations to diagnose data-specific weaknesses of a country’s current practices related to political integrity: to lay out specific goals for improved availability and use of data around party financing, interest declarations, lobbying, public consultation, and RTI performance; to advocate for these changes persuasively, drawing on comprehensive contextual data and qualitative insights from around the world.

The data from this module will also be of great use to the numerous researchers across scholarly disciplines who study integrity, corruption, political partisanship, conflicts of interest, lobbying, public consultation, and RTI. It is designed to contribute to and extend the current wave of empirical research on these topics that has emerged in conjunction with more recently developed datasets such as those the module examines.

This module also supports members of the public in assessing and contextualizing the integrity of their government and public officials. Further, this module will likely be of interest to specific populations corresponding to the module’s themes (e.g. lobbyists seeking a balanced and diverse ecosystem of special interest groups, journalists investigating the financial backers of a particular campaign, and researchers analyzing the conflicts of interest of a particular kind of public official, etc.).

The data and evidence gathered here may also be taken up by global governance institutions. While this edition of the Barometer focuses primarily on country-level government, evidence from transparency research (e.g., Donaldson and Kingsbury 2013) suggests that practices of integrity can also have positive spillover effects on global governance institutions.

Module Development Notes

A background paper, including a detailed literature review, is available.