Index Finds Major Economies Comparatively Low on Corruption, But Not Leading Way

The usual suspects, mostly nations in Northern Europe, demonstrated the lowest levels of corruption in an annual Transparency International study released this month, while the United States held relatively stable among the 20 best-performing nations.

The US placed 17—alongside Barbados, Hong Kong and Ireland—with a score of 74 in the 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index, which measures the perceived levels of public sector corruption for 175 countries/territories worldwide. The score advanced one point from 2013’s score, which marked a two-position improvement in the rankings. No country earned a perfect score and 69% scored below 50 on a scale from 0 for highly corrupt to 100 for very clean.

The six best-performing countries were Denmark (92), New Zealand (91), Finland (89), Sweden (87), Norway (86) and Switzerland (86). The top three maintained their positions from last year. North Korea and Somalia finished at the bottom, both scoring an 8.

Regionally, the Americas had an average score of 45 with Canada placing first with 81 and Haiti and Venezuela last, each with 19. The EU and Western Europe averaged 66 with Denmark in the lead and Greece, Italy and Romania dubiously scoring worst with 43 each. Eastern Europe and Central Asia averaged 33 with Georgia scoring a best of 52 and Turkmenistan at the bottom with 17. The Middle East and North Africa averaged 38 with the United Arab Emirates at the top with 70 and Sudan at the bottom. The Asia Pacific’s average score was 43 with aforementioned New Zealand and North Korea representing the respective high and low scores. The Sub-Saharan Africa had an average score of 33 with Botswana at the top with 63 and Somalia at the bottom.

Of the G20 countries, an international forum for the governments and central bank governors from 20 major economies, 58 percent scored below 50. Overall, global performance averaged at 43 and G20 at 54. (For the full list of results—with comparisons to 2013 and 2012, visit www.transparency.org/cpi2014/results.)

- Diana Mota, NACM staff writer

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