Worldwide Governance Indicators

Research project

The Worldwide Governance Indicators (WGI) are produced by Daniel Kaufmann and associates as part of the World Bank’s Governance Matters project. The indicators measure six dimensions of governance in most of the countries in the world.


Worldwide Governance Indicators

Worldwide Governance Indicators


Worldwide Governance Indicators


Excel, On-screen tables





Last reviewed


Data types and sources

The Worldwide Governance Indicators project constructs aggregate indicators of six broad dimensions of governance. The six aggregate indicators are based on statistical compilation of responses on the quality of governance given by a large number of enterprise, citizen and expert survey respondents in industrial and developing countries, as reported by a number of survey institutes, think tanks, non-governmental organizations, and international organizations.

Data download

Worldwide Governance Indicators


The indicators cover six dimensions of governance: Voice and Accountability, Political Stability and Absence of Violence/Terrorism, Government Effectiveness, Regulatory Quality, Rule of Law, and Control of Corruption. For each dimension, separate variables show the point estimate, the standard error and the number of sources used in each year.

Geographical coverage


Time coverage and updates

Years covered: 1996-2010. Latest update: 2011.


Details on the underlying data sources, the aggregation method, and the interpretation of the indicators, can be found in the WGI methodology paper (Kaufmann,, 2010).

Access conditions and cost

Available free of charge.

Access procedures

The entire dataset can be downloaded as a predefined table. Data can also be accessed interactively. By accessing the data interactively, it is possible to limit the output by specifying indicators, countries and time period. Data from the underlying data sources are also available. It is possible to view the data graphically as charts and maps.

Data formats

Excel and on-screen tables.

Comparability and data quality

The precision of the WGI has been improved in recent years, and the dataset received a very favourable review by Gervasoni (2006). Nonetheless, the margins of error are still significant. Kaufmann, Kraay and Mastruzzi (2006: 13) stress that the “confidence intervals are substantial relative to the units in which governance is measured” and that “it is therefore more useful to focus on the range of possible governance values for each country” (emphasis in original).

In the 2006 edition of the indicators (Governance Matters V), some changes were made to make them more comparable over time. The changes were implemented retroactively, so that the indicators can be used to measure changes from one year to another (ibid: 8-11), though there are still some problems associated with making comparisons over time (Kaufmann, Kraay and Mastruzzi 2005: 12-16).

Electronic resource

Governance Data Sets and Indicators


Arndt, Christiane, and Charles Oman. 2006. Uses and Abuses of Governance Indicators. Paris: OECD.

Gervasoni, Carlos. 2006. “Data set review: the World Bank’s Governance Indicators (1996-2004)”. APSA-CP Newsletter 17 (Winter): 17-20.

Kaufmann, Daniel, Aart Kraay and Pablo Zoido-Lobatón. 1999. “Aggregating governance indicators”. Policy Research Working Paper, 2195. Washington: World Bank Institute.

Kaufmann, Daniel, Aart Kraay and Massimo Mastruzzi. 2003. “Governance Matters III: governance indicators for 1996-2002”. Washington: World Bank.

Kaufmann, Daniel, Aart Kraay and Massimo Mastruzzi. 2005. “Measuring governance using cross-country perceptions data”. Washington: World Bank.

Kaufmann, Daniel, Aart Kraay and Massimo Mastruzzi. 2006. “Governance Matters V: aggregate and individual governance indicators for 1996-2005”. Washington: World Bank.

Van de Walle, Steven. 2006. “The state of the world’s bureaucracies”. Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis 8 (December): 437-448.

Thomas, Melissa A. 2007. “What do the Worldwide Governance Indicators Measure?” Washington DC: Paul Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, John Hopkins University, unpublished manuscript.

Kaufmann, Daniel, Aart Kraay & Massimo Mastruzzi. 2010. "The Worldwide Governance Indicators: A Summary of Methodology, Data and Analytical Issues". World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 5430.