The Corruption Perception Index ranks 180 countries and territories around the world by their perceived levels of public sector corruption. The analysis is based on 13 expert assessments and surveys of business executives. It uses a scale from 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).
Least corrupt countries
With a score of 88, Denmark and New Zealand share first place. Luxembourg scores 80 and is in 9th place, a ranking that it shares with its neighbour Germany. Belgium ranks 15th and France 23rd.
Positive effects – and challenges
The study notes that a low level of corruption has a generally positive impact on society. “Countries that perform well on the index invest more in health care, are better able to provide universal health coverage and are less likely to violate democratic norms and institutions or the rule of law,” it states.
However, the fight against corruption remains a great challenge. Over two-thirds of the countries covered score below 50, and close to half have been stagnant on the index for almost a decade. This indicates difficulties of tackling the root causes of corruption. This is particularly serious in the current context of the COVID-19 pandemic: the report claims that “corruption poses a critical threat to citizens’ lives and livelihoods, especially when combined with a public health emergency”.
In order to reduce corruption and better respond to future crises, Transparency International recommends strengthening oversight institutions, ensuring open and transparent contracting, defending democracy and publishing relevant data.