ABSTRACT Some international organizations, and most prominently the World Bank, play a leading role in the supply of cross-country governance ratings. The paper draws on interviews of World Bank staff to understand why the World Bank produces cross-country comparable indicators and to bring to light the current controversies within the World Bank about existing indicators and future work on governance indicators. It also attempts to explain why so many external users rely on the Worldwide Governance Indicators, despite the limitations of these indicators and the large number of more meaningful, alternative indicators available. It argues that both robust and meaningful indicators and more qualitative research are necessary to give better reform advice to developing countries.
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