Corruption barometer

More than one person in two thinks corruption has worsened in the last two years, according to the world’s largest public opinion survey on corruption from Transparency International, but survey participants also firmly believe they can make a difference and have the will to take action against graft.

The Global Corruption Barometer 2013 is a survey of 114,000 people in 107 countries and it shows corruption is widespread. 27 per cent of respondents have paid a bribe when accessing public services and institutions in the last 12 months, revealing no improvement from previous surveys.

Still, nearly 9 out of 10 people surveyed said they would act against corruption and two-thirds of those who were asked to pay a bribe had refused, suggesting that governments, civil society and the business sector need to do more to engage people in thwarting corruption.

“Bribe paying levels remain very high worldwide, but people believe they have the power to stop corruption and the number of those willing to combat the abuse of power, secret dealings and bribery is significant, “ said Huguette Labelle, the Chair of Transparency International.

The Global Corruption Barometer 2013 also found that in too many countries the institutions people rely on to fight corruption and other crime are themselves not trusted. 36 countries view police as the most corrupt, and in those countries an average of 53 per cent of people had been asked to pay a bribe to the police. 20 countries view the judiciary as the most corrupt, and in those countries an average of 30 per cent of the people who had come in contact with the judicial systems had been asked to pay a bribe.

“Governments need to take this cry against corruption from their citizenry seriously and respond with concrete action to elevate transparency and accountability,” Labelle said. “Strong leadership is needed from the G20 governments in particular. In the 17 countries surveyed in the G20, 59 per cent of respondents said their government is not doing a good job at fighting corruption.”

Politicians themselves have much to do to regain trust. The Global Corruption Barometer 2013 shows a crisis of trust in politics and real concern about the capacity of those institutions responsible for bringing criminals to justice. In 51 countries around the world political parties are seen as the most corrupt institution. 55 per cent of respondents think government is run by special interests. Politicians can lead by example by publishing asset declarations for themselves and their immediate family.

Political parties and individual candidates, meanwhile, must disclose where they get their money from to make clear who funds them and to reveal potential conflicts of interest.

Around the world, people’s appraisal of their leaders’ efforts to stop corruption is worse than before the financial crisis began in 2008, when 31 per cent said their government’s efforts to fight corruption were effective. This year it fell to 22 per cent. “Governments need to make sure that there are strong, independent and well-resourced institutions to prevent and redress corruption. Too many people are harmed when these core institutions and basic services are undermined by the scourge of corruption,” Labelle added.

Source: Transparency International

Related Articles

Peace Infrastructure

"Essentially, the aim should be the creation of a sustainable national infrastructure for peace that allows societies and their governments to resolve conflicts internally and with their own skills, institutions and resources." - Kofi Annan

Measuring media freedom

Freedom of the press is difficult to capture.

The Pillars of Peace

For humanity to prosper in a resource constrained world, a paradigm shift in managing international affairs is required to curtail global warfare

Social Progress Index

Can Harvard professor Michael Porter do for wellbeing and happiness what others have so far failed to achieve?

Democracy Index

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, global democracy is at a standstill.

Contact us

Vision of Humanity is an initiative of the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP). IEP have offices in New York and Sydney. For more specific inquiries related to the peace indexes and research, please contact IEP directly.

General enquiries:
Data request:

Sydney office

PO Box 42, St Leonards,
NSW 1590,
Tel: +61 2 9901 8500

New York office

3 East 54th Street
14th Floor
New York, New York 10022
Tel: +1 (646) 963-2160

Job opportunities and internships are listed on the Institute for Economics and Peace website. See them here.

Contact us