Quantitative service delivery surveys (QSDS) or multi-purpose surveys, are used to collect quantitative data on the efficiency of public spending and the different aspects of ‘frontline’ service delivery usually represented by schools in the education sector. For example, they can be used to measure teacher absenteeism and the percentage of ‘ghost’ teachers that feature on official lists of active teachers. Data are collected from unannounced visits to selected schools to physically verify teacher presence (to access country specific reports, go to ETICO page on Statistics).

Estimates show a 16 per cent absenteeism rate among teachers in Ecuador (Chaudury et al., 2003) and a 15 per cent ‘ghost’ rate for teachers in Papua New Guinea (Filmer, 2005). A more detailed analysis of the figures highlights the possibility of wide variations within a single country. In the case of India, for instance, the absence rate varies from 15 per cent in Gujarat to 38 per cent in Bihar (Chaudhury et al., 2003).

The collection of additional data at the school level can provide useful insights into the relationships between corrupt practices and contextual variables – for example, trends in absenteeism and their linkages with variables such as teachers’ age, gender, status, and teaching conditions.