Predicting Politicians' Misconduct: Evidence from Colombia


  • Center for Open Science


  • Corruption has pervasive effects on economic development and the well-being of the population. Despite being crucial and necessary, fighting corruption is not an easy task because it is a difficult phenomenon to measure and detect. However, recent advances in the field of artificial intelligence may help in this quest. In this article, we propose the use of machine learning models to predict municipality-level corruption in a developing country. Using data from disciplinary prosecutions conducted by an anti-corruption agency in Colombia, we trained four canonical models (Random Forests, Gradient Boosting Machine, Lasso, and Neural Networks), and ensemble their predictions, to predict whether or not a mayor will commit acts of corruption. Our models achieve acceptable levels of performance, based on metrics such as the precision and the area under the ROC curve, demonstrating that these tools are useful in predicting where misbehavior is most likely to occur. Moreover, our feature-importance analysis shows us which groups of variables are most important upon predicting corruption.

fecha de publicación

  • 2022

Líneas de investigación

  • Colombia
  • Corruption
  • Machine Learning
  • Prediction


  • 5dp8t