On Sunday, March 21, the youth of UUCC led a service titled Seeing the Whole about the limitations of our own perspectives, the benefits we ALL reap when we listen to others, and a proposed course of action for us to consider as a congregation.
UUCC member Liam Estell presented original research and analysis highlighting the correlation between an increase in representation and a decrease in perceived corruption in democracies around the world. Here are the spoken and visual elements of his presentation for you all to revisit.
Hello, my name is Liam Estell and today I will be giving a quantifiable approach to prove the point that we are making throughout this service.
Here is a graph (image 1) showing on the bottom axis the percentage of women in the congress or parliament of 177 countries represented as a decimal. On the vertical axis is the score on the corruption perception index of each of those countries. A higher score indicates less perceived corruption.
Now before I move on to explaining the meaning of this data, I will explain where it comes from. The percentage of women (image 2) in the parliaments of countries was taken from a 2019 survey done by the Inter-Parliamentary Union, (image 3) an international coalition of democratic countries founded in 1889 which served an important role in forming the League of Nations and the United Nations.
The corruption perception index (image 4) was taken from a 2020 study done by Transparency International which uses 13 different other studies and combines their results to get as complete a picture of perceived corruption as possible.
Transparency International (image 5) is a German non-profit founded in 1993 with the goal of fighting global corruption.
Now moving back to the meaning of the data (image 6). There is a discernible trend that countries with more women in their elected parliament have a higher score on the corruption perception index. The line seen on the graph is a best-fit line that shows an upward trend. The correlation coefficient between the two datasets is 0.32195 which is not particularly strong.
However, this graph (image 7) shows a trend that 90% of the data falls within about 30 percent, plus or minus, of the best fit-line, and shows that there does indeed seem to be a correlation between the two datasets. From this we can safely conclude that increasing the number of women in a country’s parliament towards a representative amount does indeed seem to decrease the country’s perceived corruption.
Now of course there are a lot more factors than the percentage of women in parliament that affect corruption, and the number of women in a country’s parliament is more likely an outcome of an underlying condition which is causing the lower perceived corruption than the actual cause, however it is the most readily measurable statistic. There are few global constants which can be compared across countries to discern why some have lower perceived corruption than others. Determining whether a country has a representative amount of any given demographic in its parliament requires knowing what percentage would be representative, which requires even more data. As such comparing men to women was the best I could put together in a reasonable timeframe.
However, in spite of the lack of readily available data, with the data we have, we can conclude that there is a likely correlation between how representative a country’s elected body is, and how much perceived corruption it has. Therefore, more representative democracies are perceived to be better than those which are not.
As it was to be proven, thank you for listening.