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A failure of governmentality: why Transparency International underestimated corruption in Ben Ali’s Tunisia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalThird World Quarterly
Early online date16 Mar 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Mar 2016

King's Authors


This article critiques the Foucauldian approach to governance indicators. Transparency International’s (TI) Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) underestimated Tunisian corruption levels under President Ben Ali: his regime was highly corrupt but foreign investors were less affected. CPI methodology meant it reflected primarily the needs of foreign investors. The Foucauldian approach specifically excludes analysis of governance indicators’ methodologies. It thus fails to demonstrate the effectiveness of governance indicators as a technology of government, and it fails to show how the production of the CPI is embedded in a wider global political economy.

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