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

Ulaanbaatar, September 24, 2013 — The Asia Foundation and The Sant Maral Foundation today released the Survey on Perceptions and Knowledge of Corruption (SPEAK) and the Study of Private Perceptions of Corruption (STOPP) as part of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Strengthening Transparency and Governance in Mongolia (STAGE) project. The project 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 findings provide important data on perceptions of corruption at the household level (nationwide) as well as the experience of corruption in the businesses (Ulaanbaatar-based only). The SPEAK survey polled 1,360 households in 7 districts in Ulaanbaatar and 24 soums in 7 aimags in March 2013; STOPP survey interviewed 330 senior-level managers of businesses in Ulaanbaatar in May 2013. These reports reflect the second round of the surveys conducted under the STAGE project; two more rounds of these surveys will be implemented through the end of the project in September 2014.

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 surveys will trigger invigorated and critical dialogues on issues of transparency, accountability, and corruption in Mongolia. Designed to capture long-term, nationwide data on perceptions of corruption, the SPEAK 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.

The surveys serve as a backbone to evidence-based programming, informing STAGE of changes at critical stages of the program. The Foundation has been disseminating the survey findings at the community level in partnership with the USAID funded Active Partnerships and Public Engagement for Accountable Localities (APPEAL), implemented by Mercy Corps.

Scope

SPEAK survey 

  • Surveyed 1,360 households in 7 districts in Ulaanbaatar and 24 soums in 7 aimags in March 2013;
  • A total of 11 surveys were conducted before SPEAK, which allowed for data comparison over time.
  • Presents nationwide data on perceptions of corruption and actual incidences of corruption at the household level;
  • Expanded to include questions on grand corruption and administrative practices;
  • Face-to-face random interviews conducted.

STOPP survey

  • First survey among private business focused on corruption;
  • Administered for the second time in May 2013; first time was in December 2012;
  • Encourages business to get pro-active in developing solutions to corruption;
  • Takes into account the growing interconnectedness between politics and business;
  • Randomly selected 330 firms from among those not selected in December 2012; and
  • Structured questionnaire used.

Findings

SPEAK survey

  • Corruption moved up two spots in March 2013 to be the third most important problem in Mongolia according to the survey respondents.
  • The number of those who believe corruption has increased in the past three years dropped from 60.4 percent in November 2012 to 48.3 percent in March 2013.
  • The Land Utilization and Mining sectors continued to lead in the public’s perception of the top five most corrupt sectors (agencies).
  • Corruption cases where high-level public officials are involved continue to be the key marker of Grand Corruption. However, the number of respondents who believed “there is significant volume of GC in Mongolia” dropped by 6.6 percent between November 2012 and March 2013.
  • Respondents’ confidence over the IAAC has increased from 27 percent in May 2011 to 40.5 percent in March 2013.
  • The number of those willing to report corruption has decreased from 20.5 percent in March 2010 to 15.5 percent in March 2013.
  • The percentage of households that reported giving bribes in the last three months has dropped to 9 percent in March 2013 from 12 percent in November 2012.

STOPP survey

  • The number of businesses that believe the investment conditions have improved during the last six months decreased by 9.1 percent. However, 58.2 percent believe it will improve in the next six months.
  • A significant number of respondents (41.9 percent) claimed to have knowledge of corruption in the last one year (based on their experience dealing with government agencies).
  • Among the surveyed respondents, 69.1 percent said they “always” or “often” encountered corruption in public sector tender and contracting.
  • Among the surveyed businesses, 26.4 percent believe that anti-corruption legislation is not effective at all, an increase of 7.3 percentage points since December 2012.
  • About 62.4 percent of the surveyed respondents still believe that the steps taken by the government to control corruption are “hardly effective” or “not at all effective”.
  • About 24.5 percent of the companies said that in their line of work companies “always” or “often” encounter corruption.
  • Only 13.9 percent of the companies have taken steps to combat fraud or corruption. A majority 72.1 percent have not taken any measures.

Read more about The Asia Foundation and its work in Mongolia.

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