Transparency International (TI) again stood by its survey on corruption in Taiwan as it said that its secretariat “has no plans to redo” the poll, rejecting the government’s request to modify the results on the nation published in the group’s 2013 Global Corruption Barometer.
In an e-mail sent on July 24 to the Taipei Times replying to a request to confirm a Ministry of Foreign Affairs statement on July 22 that “regarding the obviously erroneous findings on Taiwan, TI has planned to have the survey redone in Taiwan,” the organization denied it had any such plans.
However, it added it would assist its local chapter, Transparency International Chinese Taipei (TICT), with further research on the issues if requested.
Taiwan was found to be among the most corrupt of the 107 countries surveyed in this year’s report, published on July 9, about the public’s experiences with bribery and views on corruption in governmental institutions in their countries.
The part of the survey measuring corruption in Taiwan found that 36 percent of respondents said they had paid a bribe in exchange for services in one of eight public sectors: police, judiciary, registry, land, medical, education, tax and utilities.
The ministry has repeatedly raised doubts on quality and veracity of the survey and demanded corrections be made to the results.
In the July 22 statement, the ministry said that it welcomed TI to redo the survey in Taiwan “so it can keep up its reputation as a world-renowned NGO and so it can win the trust of Taiwanese and international society.”
TICT executive director Kevin Yeh (葉一璋) on Friday said the local branch is seeking funding from an impartial party to commission a local academic institution, either the Election Study Center at National Chengchi University or Institute of Public Opinion Research at Shih-Hsin University, to assess the rate of corruption in the nation.
The results of a new survey would be provided to TI’s headquarters in Berlin “for reference” rather than to modify the original report, Yeh said.
TI told its local office that if a poll is done in Taiwan, it would not be a “redoing” of the survey and that the headquarters will not recognize any results as part of its investigation, Yeh added.
Among the issues raised by the government about the credibility of TI’s corruption report were the survey company, the mode of surveying and sampling methodology, which, in the government’s view, could account for the findings this year having diverged widely from the figures recorded in past TI reports and other comparable polls.
TI has provided clarifications to the points in its two reply letters to the ministry.
According to the Berlin-based group, it commissioned the Worldwide Independent Research Network of Market Research/Gallup International Association (WIN) group through a competitive bidding process to undertake the barometer survey.
For this year’s survey, the Cass Research Centre, an affiliate of China, was tasked with the fieldwork for the survey on Taiwan using the online way the 2010 CGB was done, which was the same TI said.
In TI’s 2010 survey, the bribery rate in Taiwan was 7 percent.
The difference between the implementation of this year’s survey and the one in 2010 was that the center subcontracted Jisibar, a survey company based in China, to do this year’s survey and outsourced the 2010 survey to Survey Sampling International (SSI), also a Chinese company, TI said.
“According to WIN/GIA, [it was because] the project manager responsible for the survey in 2010 moved from SSI to Jisibar,” the TI said.
The TI said it was not involved in the assignment of fieldwork to affiliates or to any subcontracting arrangements made by the WIN/GIA affiliate.
Public opinion survey data can vary over time, depending on current events and the degree of public exposure to these events, so fluctuation in the results of such survey data from one year to the next is to be expected, the TI said.
While stating it has full confidence in the results of the survey, including those for Taiwan,TI said it hoped to explore the issue in more detail together with TICT to better understand people’s experiences with bribery in Taiwan through complementary research because the difference in the results of the bribery question between the 2010 and this year’s survey is substantial.