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Governance consists of the traditions and institutions by which authority in a country is exercised. This includes the process by which governments are selected, monitored and replaced; the capacity of the government to effectively formulate and implement sound policies; and the respect of citizens and the state for the institutions that govern economic and social interactions among them.

The Worldwide Governance Indicators report on six broad dimensions of governance for over 200 countries and territories over the period 1996-2022:

Follow the links above for a definition of each of the six dimensions of governance, and a list of the individual indicators on which each aggregate indicator is based. The WGI are composite governance indicators based on over 30 underlying data sources. These data sources are rescaled and combined to create the six aggregate indicators using a statistical methodology known as an Unobserved Components Model (UCM). A key feature of the methodology is that it generates margins of error for each governance estimate. These margins of error need to be taken into account when making comparisons across countries and over time. This page provides an overview of the WGI methodology. For a full description of the WGI methodology, click here. A complete replication package for the WGI calculations is available here.

The six composite WGI measures are useful as a tool for broad cross-country comparisons and for evaluating broad trends over time. However, they are often too blunt a tool to be useful in formulating specific governance reforms in particular country contexts. Such reforms, and evaluation of their progress, need to be informed by much more detailed and country-specific diagnostic data that can identify the relevant constraints on governance in particular country circumstances.

The WGI are complementary to a large number of other efforts to construct more detailed measures of governance, often just for a single country. Users are also encouraged to consult the disaggregated individual indicators underlying the composite WGI scores to gain more insights into the particular areas of strengths and weaknesses identified by the data.

The WGI are a research dataset initiated by Daniel Kaufmann (President Emeritus, Natural Resource Governance Institute, and Senior Fellow at Results for Development and The Brookings Institution) and Aart Kraay (World Bank, Development Economics) in 1999. Pablo Zoido and Massimo Mastruzzi also made major contributions to the development and updating of the WGI. The WGI authors are grateful to the Knowledge for Change Program of the World Bank for financial support, to Jacquelyn Pavilon for outstanding research assistance, and to Maria Reyes Retana and Luis Eduardo San Martin for code review.