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The Asia Foundation Releases USAID-Funded Survey on Perceptions and Knowledge of Corruption (SPEAK)

Ulaanbaatar, April 3, 2013 — The Asia Foundation today announced the Survey on Perceptions and Knowledge of Corruption (SPEAK) as part of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funded Strengthening Transparency and Governance in Mongolia (STAGE) program. The program aims to strengthen democratic governance by building a more transparent and accountable regulatory and legislative environment while promoting principles of checks and balances. The survey builds on the semi-annual corruption benchmarking survey conducted under the USAID funded Mongolian Anti-Corruption Support (MACS) Project, implemented from 2006 – 2011 by the Foundation. While past surveys probed citizens’ perceptions and actual experience of corruption at the household level, the SPEAK survey has been expanded to capture data on perceptions and knowledge of administrative practices and grand corruption. Additionally, the survey will be complemented by the newly introduced Study of Private Perceptions of Corruption (STOPP), which aims to capture data on perceptions of corruption in the business sphere. Together, the surveys, conducted semi-annually, will provide a much broader picture on corruption in Mongolia.

The Sant Maral Foundation (SMF) has been The Foundation’s implementing partner for both the surveys. The surveys serve as a backbone to evidence-based programming, informing STAGE of changes at critical stages of the program. By providing information on long-term trends in every day corruption and new information on citizen views on grand corruption, the Foundation believes that the SPEAK survey will trigger invigorated and critical dialogues on issues of transparency, accountability, and corruption in Mongolia. The Foundation will collaborate with the USAID funded Active Partnerships and Public Engagement for Accountable Localities (APPEAL), implemented by Mercy Corps to disseminate the survey’s findings at the community level.

Key Information

  • The survey polled 1,350 households in 7 districts in Ulaanbaatar and 21 soums in 6 aimags.
  •  Among the respondents, 41 percent were male, and 51 percent were female. Twenty-six percent were ages 18-30, and 48 percent were ages 30-50.
  • A total of 10 surveys were conducted before SPEAK, which allowed for data comparison over time.
  • Face-to-face random sampling was the primary methodology.
  • Data can be disaggregated into male/female (gender) and rural/urban categories.

Key Findings

  • 88.8 percent of the respondents in the 2012 survey said they believe corruption is common in Mongolia, compared to 92.2 percent in 2006 who believed so.
  • Concern over corruption continues to decline among survey respondents, who ranked it fifth among major problems in 2012, compared to second in 2006.
  • Respondents again ranked “land and property” and “mining” as the two most corrupt government agencies, as they have since 2006. Political parties have been ranked fifth for the last few years.
  • A slight increase in people’s reported confidence in the Independent Authority against Corruption (IAAC) is evident in 2012.
  • The number of people who said they preferred IAAC as the leader in fighting corruption increased from 35.8 percent in April 2011 to 44.4 percent in November 2012.
  • The number of households reporting involvement in bribery (petty corruption) has decreased by 16 percent since 2006.
  • Respondents cited the incidence of corruption involving high level government officials and strong political groups as the main markers of grand corruption.
  • Strong punitive measures and increased control are respondents’ top two stated preferences for countering corruption.
  • “Unabated corruption in law enforcement bodies” and the custom of “solving problems by corrupt practices” are cited as the two primary obstacles to preventing corruption.
  • The people surveyed regarded education and health institutions as the fairest institutions. Respondents who paid a bribe in the past three months most frequently paid bribes to teachers and doctors.
  • The average size of reported bribes to “doctors” is the lowest, while that of “judges” is the highest among the surveyed professions.

The Asia Foundation in Mongolia The Asia Foundation is an international non-governmental organization working in Mongolia for the past two decades. The Foundation’s programs advance democracy, good governance, and civic engagement, address environmental challenges, empower women, and promote dialogue on regional cooperation. Read more about the Foundation’s work in Mongolia.

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