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Case Studies

Corruption Perceptions Index

Continued failure of most countries to significantly control corruption is contributing to a crisis of democracy around the world, claims an anti-corruption camapign group. Transparency International (TI) has released its 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI). Denmark and New Zealand top the Index; Somalia, South Sudan, and Syria are at the bottom.

Patricia Moreira, Managing Director of Transparency International said: “With many democratic institutions under threat across the globe – often by leaders with authoritarian or populist tendencies – we need to do more to strengthen checks and balances and protect citizens’ rights. Corruption chips away at democracy to produce a vicious cycle, where corruption undermines democratic institutions and, in turn, weak institutions are less able to control corruption.”

While 14 of the top 20 countries on this year’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) are from Western Europe and the European Union (EU), TI sees stagnating anti-corruption effort in the region and weakening democratic institutions. Although the UK dropped two points since 2017, it has improved six points since 2012, moving from 74 to 80. However, despite being an overall improver on the CPI, this year marks the first time that the UK declined on the index since 2012, receiving its lowest score since 2016.

Over the past year, the UK experienced a few public sector scandals involving MPs found guilty of taking undeclared holidays paid for by foreign states. Questions over the origin of money used in the EU referendum combined with concerns over the future of Brexit, make future movement of the UK on the CPI unclear, the Index states.

The 2018 CPI draws on 13 surveys and assessments to measure public sector corruption in 180 countries and territories, giving each a score from zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). TI points to a link between corruption and the health of democracies. Full democracies score an average of 75 on the CPI; flawed democracies score an average of 49; hybrid regimes – which show elements of autocratic tendencies – score 35; autocratic regimes perform worst, with an average score of just 30 on the CPI. The pressure group calls on all governments to:

– strengthen the institutions responsible for maintaining checks and balances over political power, and ensure their ability to operate without intimidation;
– close the gap between anti-corruption legislation, practice and enforcement;
– support civil society organisations which enhance political engagement and public oversight over government spending, particularly at the local level;
– and support a free and independent media, and ensure the safety of journalists and their ability to work without intimidation or harassment.

TI points out that countries regarded as clean are not corruption-free; Denmark, which tops the list this year, was rocked by the money-laundering scandal around Danske Bank, its biggest lender, among other cases.

To view the results, visit:


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