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Fraud and corruption: is there a clue in the data?

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Data tells stories and the people at the World Bank Group who fight fraud and corruption are keen to listen.

What do these changing costs tell us about the integrity of the project?

Could it be that the cost of supplies is evolving in a suspicious way for a particular project?

Is it possible that a historical list of bidders reveal patterns of problematic relationships or favoritism?

In some of the answers to questions like these lie reasonable cause for further inquiry. This is why we want to step up our use of data to direct our efforts and identify problems early on. We plan to use project data, from supervision reports to procurement numbers, but also data from outside the World Bank Group that will inform the context and plausibility of potential fraud and corruption cases.

We just got started and staff across the organization are brought in to identify the sources of data. But there is a much bigger group of people that have knowledge that could help us: you, Internet people.

While we’re early in developing this approach, we’re sharing it with you immediately because we hope to benefit from your common knowledge. Do you know initiatives and organizations with relevant experience, similar goals or useful resources? Share them in the comments below or contact us. In the public domain, we're looking at data including major contract awards on open finances, BOOST, Open Corporates, and GDELT - you can read more about this area of work in the report of the 2013 data dive held here at the World Bank. Our goal at this stage is to connect with them so that we can learn from each other. Thanks in advance for your contribution to this worthy cause.

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