Transparency International just published its new corruption index:
Countries with a score of higher than 9, with very low levels of perceived corruption, are predominantly rich countries, namely Finland, New Zealand, Denmark, Iceland, Singapore, Sweden and Switzerland. “But the poorest countries, most of which are in the bottom half of the index, are in greatest need of support in fighting corruption,” said Eigen.
On the basis of data from sources that were used for both the 2003 and 2004 index, since last year an increase in perceived corruption can be observed for Bahrain, Belize, Cyprus, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Mauritius, Oman, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, and Trinidad and Tobago.
On the same basis, a fall in corruption was perceived in Austria, Botswana, Czech Republic, El Salvador, France, Gambia, Germany, Jordan, Switzerland, Tanzania, Thailand, Uganda, United Arab Emirates and Uruguay.
In absolute terms, the biggest losers are Bangladesh, Haiti, Nigeria, Chad, Myanmar, Azerbaijan and Paraguay.
Here is the press release, which links to the original study and some charts.
The index appears to have had an impact:
Governments as diverse as Papua New Guinea, Cameroon and Bosnia-Herzegovina have started or stepped up anti-corruption programmes as a result of publicity generated by the index, Berlin- based Transparency International (TI) says. South Korea has even pledged to reach position 10 or above by 2007 – a tall order, as Seoul was ranked 50th last year.
On the negative side, the Financial Times asks whether such indices simply scare off investment in the poorer countries, but of course this is the reason why the index works at all.