3. Effective Governance
3.1 Democratic Representation
3.2 Lack of Corruption
3.3 Efficient Administration
In-Country Assessment Information

3. Effective Governance

Goal – A popularly elected government free of corruption and functioning efficiently and transparently enough to guarantee economic freedom to individuals and support equitable property markets



3.1 Democratic Representation (Weak)

Core Question: Does the country have free and open elections for the leadership and can citizens engage in free enterprise?

The state still directs most economic activity and public information on legislative processes and documents are often delayed or not provided at all. The United States is the biggest investor forgiving 20% of Guatemala debt for protection of rain forests.


3.1.1 Voice & Accountability (Weak) Are citizens able to elect their government and do they enjoy freedom of expression, association and a free media?

Percentile Rank 35.55; Trend↓

Source: Governance Matters 2012, World Bank – Are citizens free to form political and civic organizations free of state interference and surveillance?

Ranked 87 out of 167; Score 7.35 out of 10

Source: The Economist Intelligence Unit Democracy Index – 2013


3.1.2 Public Information (Weak)

Overall Score 65 out of 100(2010). Are there regulations governing conflicts of interest in the executive and legislative branches of government?

Executive Score: 49 out of 100; Legislative Score: 49 out of 100.

The head of state and government and the members of the national legislature are required to file a regular asset disclosure form. Also, regulations governing gifts and hospitality offered to members of Executive branch and national legislature. There are restrictions for national legislators entering the private sector after leaving government. Can citizens access legislative processes and documents?

The law provides “guarantee to all persons interested, without any discrimination, the right to request and access the information held by public authorities and persons subject to this act.” The problem is that the right to information request is not effective because responses regarding sensitive topics such as presidential programs are usually provided late or not given at all. The government can also appeal for an additional 10 days making the process longer. A peer review said “sometimes institutions don’t want to disclose information requested so they simply don’t give an answer or they deny the information, naming it “reserved.” This situation has happened…several times, especially with the Prosecutor’s officer and the Ministry of Interior.”

Source: Global Integrity Report


3.1.3 Market Intervention (Strong)

Overall Rank – 83 out of 179 To what extent does the government intervene in the private sector including state owned industries?

Score: 93.6 out of 100 with a higher score indicating less intervention.

“Public expenditures are around 15 percent of the domestic economy. In 2006, the U.S. forgave 20 percent of Guatemala’s debt in exchange for protection of rain forests. Public debt now rests around 25% of GDP” To what extent does the government control prices?

Score 76.7 out of 100 with a higher score indicating less control.

“The State maintains few price controls but subsidizes numerous key economic activities and products”

Source: Index of Economic Freedom 2014 – Heritage Foundation


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3.2 Lack of Corruption (Strong)

Core Question: Is the public sector transparent and free of corruption?

Although the indicator is strong, transparency is very weak. Requests for information can be ignored if pertaining to government or it can be delayed for 10 additional days. Guatemala has all the NIS pillars in place, but total cooperation is needed. The reason why the indicator is strong is because only 6.2% of firms have said they have expected to have extralegal payments.

Transparency (Weak)

3.2.1   What is the perceived level of corruption in the country?

Ranked 29 out of 178; Trend ↓

The level of corruption by the government in the country is fairly high, with corruption, gang violence and drug smuggling at an all-time high.

Source: Corruption Perceptions Index 2013, Transparency International

Integrity Mechanisms (Strong)

3.2.2   A National Integrity System is a framework where the principle institutions that contribute to integrity, transparency and accountability in a society can address corruption in a systematic way. Does a National Integrity System exist?

Guatemala has all the NIS pillars in place, but cooperation is needed. “An example would be “Civil Society” where cooperation between civil servants, public officials, and CSOs, which does not consistently occur, depends on the situation and political will of authorities. Also, for the business sector, social corporate responsibility is still new in this country. As a result, detailed information on the behavior of the private sector with respect to corruption is not available” (NIS)
Source: National Integrity System Assessment, Transparency International Transparency International’s

Extralegal Payments (Very Strong)

3.2.3   How often do companies report that officials and/or companies expect additional payments to “expedite” services or gain business? 

6.2% of firms say they are expected to make unofficial payments

Source: bribery depth percentage, Enterprise Survey


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3.3 Efficient Administration (Weak)

Core Question: Are quality services and qualified civil servants available to the public through the efficient use of public money?

Guatemala’s government effectiveness is decreasing every year on top of their poor civil services. The size of government relative to GDP is strong only because of a debt forgiveness by the United States. Guatemala must improve on the quality of services as well as their civil servants. Only by training and educating them will this ever improve.

Size of Government (Strong)

3.3.1   What is the size of government relative to GDP?

25% However, the United States recently forgave 20% of Guatemalan debt for protection of rain forests. If the United States did not do so, the percentage would be 45% making the indicator Very Weak.

Source: Index of Economic Freedom, Heritage Foundation

Civil Service (Weak)

3.3.2   What is the quality of the civil service?

Score 66 out of 100

Source: Global Integrity Report 2010

Government Effectiveness (Weak)

3.3.3   What is the overall effectiveness of the government?

Percentile Ranking: 25.84;Trend ↓

Source: Governance Matters 2012, World Bank


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