David Bligh: Did the Corruption Perceptions Index correlate with World Cup fouls?
Wednesday, July 18, 2018 at 6:28AM
David Bligh in Corruption Perceptions Index, World Cup

Watching this year’s World Cup over the last few weeks, I wondered: how does the perceived corruption of the participating countries relate, if at all, to the number of fouls committed by their respective teams?

My scouring of the internet uncovered no prior research on the topic, so I decided to see for myself.

To test the relationship, I used two sources: (1) the 2017 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) from Transparency International, which scores each country based on the "perceived levels of public sector corruption according to experts and businesspeople" and (2) the average number of fouls per game committed by each of the 32 teams participating in this year’s World Cup.

I compared the two data points country by country, using a linear regression to assess a possible trend. The data confirmed that, in general, the teams representing countries with higher levels of perceived public sector corruption in this year's World Cup committed more fouls per game.

To illustrate the observed correlation, I ranked each team (1 to 32) from the least fouls per game to the most fouls per game, and from the best 2017 CPI score to the worst 2017 CPI score. I then calculated the difference between the two rankings to identify the countries that most closely followed the trend and those that did not.

While countries like Uruguay and Russia are examples that support the correlation, other countries like Brazil and South Korea are examples that clearly bucked the trend.

I invite readers to let me know what inferences or conclusions, if any, we can draw from this.

Country

Fouls per Game Rank

2017 CPI Score Rank

Difference

Argentina

17

23

6

Australia

8

6

(2)

Belgium

19

8

(11)

Brazil

4

24

20

Colombia

26

24

(2)

Costa Rica

20

14

(6)

Croatia

27

17

(10)

Denmark

15

1

(14)

Egypt

11

27

16

England

5

4

(1)

France

14

10

(4)

Germany

3

5

2

Iceland

7

6

(1)

Iran

21

28

7

Japan

2

9

7

Mexico

15

29

14

Morocco

30

22

(8)

Nigeria

23

31

8

Panama

28

24

(4)

Peru

8

24

16

Poland

6

13

7

Portugal

17

12

(5)

Russia

29

29

-  

Saudi Arabia

4

17

13

Senegal

21

19

(2)

Serbia

23

21

(2)

South Korea

31

16

(15)

Spain

1

15

14

Sweden

12

3

(9)

Switzerland

13

2

(11)

Tunisia

25

20

(5)

Uruguay

10

10

-  

 

Source: Corruption Perceptions Index (2017) by Transparency International is licensed under CC BY 4.0 DE

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David Bligh, CPA, CFE, pictured above, is a Senior Vice President in the Washington, DC office of AlixPartners. He has nearly a decade of experience, focusing primarily on complex accounting issues, monitorships, and corporate investigations. Prior to joining AlixPartners, he worked for one of the Big Four accounting firms as a public accountant. He can be contacted here.

Article originally appeared on The FCPA Blog (https://www.fcpablog.com/).
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