Thinking Aloud: 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index

Dec. 4, 2014 by Darius 

This week, Transparency International released its 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index, ranking the world’s countries by how corrupt their governments are perceived to be by their citizens.

Those at the top and bottom of the list aren’t very surprising.  The Scandinavian countries and New Zealand dominate the top of the list again this year.  At the other end, North Korea and Somalia are tied for dead last.  Rounding out the bottom 10 are Sudan, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Iraq, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Libya, and Eritrea.

In general, the most-corrupt countries, as usual, are in the Middle East, Central Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa.  The countries that saw the biggest slide from last year to this year were Côte D’Ivoire, St. Vincent and the Grenadines (!?!), and Egypt, followed by Jordan, Swaziland, Mali, and Afghanistan.  Some countries registered big gains, with Turkey leading the pack, and China, Malawi, Angola, and Rwanda also showing significant progress.

It is important to note that even though countries are ranked relative to each other, they also get an absolute score.  According to this absolute score, 2/3 of the world’s countries get a score of 50 or lower (with 0 being “highly corrupt” and 100 being “very clean”), suggesting that many of the countries that do substantially better than their peers still have a long way to go in reducing corruption.

With an absolute score of 74, the US is tied with Barbados, Hong Kong, and Ireland at #17 on the Corruption Perceptions Index.

You can find the whole report and some detailed analysis at http://www.transparency.org/cpi2014.

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