Analysis by Finn Heinrich, Transparency International
With the launch of Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2016 just five days after Donald Trump’s inauguration as US President, it’s timely to look at the links between populism, socio-economic malaise and the anti-corruption agenda. Indeed, Trump and many other populist leaders regularly make a connection between a “corrupt elite” interested only in enriching themselves and their (rich) supporters and the marginalisation of “working people”.
Is there evidence to back this up? Yes. Corruption and social inequality are indeed closely related and provide a source for popular discontent. Yet, the track record of populist leaders in tackling this problem is dismal; they use the corruption-inequality message to drum up support but have no intention of tackling the problem seriously. But, first, let’s look at what corruption has to do with inequality and vice versa.
Let’s get straight to the point: No country gets close to a perfect score in the Corruption Perceptions Index 2016.
Over two-thirds of the 176 countries and territories in this year’s index fall below the midpoint of our scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). The global average score is a paltry 43, indicating endemic corruption in a country’s public sector. Top-scoring countries (yellow in the map below) are far outnumbered by orange and red countries where citizens face the tangible impact of corruption on a daily basis.
- Global map graphic and results table: JPG | PDF
- Global map graphic: JPG | PDF
- Global and regional results graphics: ZIP
- Data set: XLSX
- Short methodology note
- Technical methodology note
- Source description