Corruption Perceptions Index

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Overview of the index of perception of corruption, 2010.
     9–10     6–6.9     3–3.9
     8–8.9     5–5.9     2–2.9
     7–7.9     4–4.9     1–1.9
     No Information

Since 1995, Transparency International (TI) publishes the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) annually ranking countries "by their perceived levels of corruption, as determined by expert assessments and opinion surveys."[1] The CPI generally defines corruption as "the misuse of public power for private benefit."[2]

As of 2010, the CPI ranks 178 countries "on a scale from 10 (very clean) to 0 (highly corrupt)."[3]



Transparency International commissioned Johann Graf Lambsdorff of the University of Passau to produce the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI).[4] The 2010 CPI draws on 13 different surveys and assessments from 10 independent institutions.[5] The institutions are the African Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the Bertelsmann Foundation, the Economist Intelligence Unit, Freedom House, Global Insight, International Institute for Management Development, Political and Economic Risk Consultancy, the World Economic Forum, and the World Bank.[6]

The 13 surveys/assessments are either business people opinion surveys or performance assessments from a group of analysts.[2] Early CPIs used public opinion surveys. Countries must be assessed by at least three sources to appear in the CPI.[7]

The CPI measures perception of corruption due to the difficulty of measuring absolute levels of corruption.[8]


A study published in 2002 found a "very strong significant correlation" between the Corruption Perceptions Index and two other proxies for corruption; Black Market activity and overabundance of regulation. All three metrics also had a highly significant correlation with real gross domestic product per capita (RGDP/Cap). The Corruption Perceptions Index correlation with RGDP/Cap was the strongest.[9]


Since the set of sources changes, comparing corruption over time with the CPI is inappropriate.[8][verification needed]


The Corruption Perceptions Index has drawn increasing criticism in the decade since its launch, leading to calls for the index to be abandoned.[10][11][12] This criticism has been directed at the quality of the index itself, and the lack of actionable insights created from a simple country ranking.[13][14] Because corruption is wilfully hidden, it is impossible to measure directly; instead proxies for corruption are used. The CPI uses an eclectic mix of third-party surveys to sample public perceptions of corruption through a variety of questions, ranging from "Do you trust the government?" to "Is corruption a big problem in your country?"

The use of third-party survey data is a source of criticism. The data can vary widely in methodology and completeness from country to country. The methodology of the Index itself changes from year to year, thus making even basic better-or-worse comparisons difficult. Media outlets, meanwhile, frequently use the raw numbers as a yardstick for government performance, without clarifying what the numbers mean. A local Transparency International chapter disowned the index results after a change in methodology caused a country's scores to increase—media reported it as an "improvement".[15] Other critics point out that definitional problems with the term "corruption" makes the tool problematic for social science.

The index mainly provides a snapshot of the views of business people and country analysts. In comparison, the questions in the Eurobarometer surveys 64.3 (2005), 68.2 (2007), 72.2 (2009), and the Flash Eurobarometer 236 (2008) established by the European Commission for all of the 27 European Union members states ask the perceptions and experiences of the general public. In general, the results show a very large divergence between the perception of living in a corrupt country by the general public and the experiences of corruption in everyday life.

Aside from precision issues, a more fundamental critique is aimed at the uses of the Index. As a source of quantitative data in a field hungry for international datasets, the CPI can take on a life of its own, appearing in cross-country and year-to-year comparisons that the CPI authors themselves admit are not justified by their methodology. The authors state in 2008: "Year-to-year changes in a country's score can either result from a changed perception of a country's performance or from a change in the CPI’s sample and methodology. The only reliable way to compare a country’s score over time is to go back to individual survey sources, each of which can reflect a change in assessment." [16]

The CPI produces a single score per country, which as noted above, cannot be compared year-to-year. In the late 2000s, the field has moved towards unpackable, action-oriented indices (such as those by the International Budget Partnership or Global Integrity), which typically measure public policies that relate to corruption, rather than try to assess "corruption" as a whole via proxy measures like perceptions.[13] These alternative measures use original (often locally collected) data and so have the same non-comparability problem as the CPI and are limited in scope to specific policy practices (such as public access to parliamentary budget documents) and so they are only an indicator of visible corruption/policy corruption.

Relation to GDP growth and foreign investment

Research papers published in 2007 and 2008 examined the economic consequences of corruption perception, as defined by the CPI. The researchers found a correlation between a higher CPI and lower long-term economic growth[17], as well as a decrease in GDP growth of 1.7% for every unit increase in a country's CPI score.[18] Also shown was a power-law dependence linking higher CPI score to lower rates of foreign investment in a country.


Worldwide Corruption Perceptions ranking of countries
published by Transparency International

1 New Zealand9.
2 Denmark9.
2 Finland9.
4 Sweden9.
5 Singapore9.
6 Norway9.
7 Netherlands8.
8 Australia8.
8 Switzerland8.
10 Canada8.
11 Luxembourg8.
12 Hong Kong8.
13 Iceland8.
14 Germany8.
14 Japan8.
16 Austria7.
16 Barbados7.   
16 United Kingdom7.
19 Belgium7.
19 Ireland7.
21 Bahamas7.3         
22 Chile7.
22 Qatar7.  
24 United States7.
25 France7.
25 Saint Lucia7.0     
25 Uruguay7.
28 United Arab Emirates6. 
29 Estonia6.
30 Cyprus6. 
31 Spain6.
32 Botswana6.
32 Portugal6.
32 Taiwan6.
35 Slovenia5.
36 Israel5.
36 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines5.8     
38 Bhutan5.     
39 Malta5.   
39 Puerto Rico5.      
41 Cape Verde5.     
41 Poland5.
43 South Korea5.
44 Brunei5.25.55.5       
44 Dominica5.
46 Bahrain5. 
46 Macau5.    
46 Mauritius5.
49 Rwanda5.   
50 Costa Rica4.
50 Lithuania4.
50 Oman4. 
50 Seychelles4.  
54 Hungary4.
54 Kuwait4. 
56 Jordan4.
57 Czech Republic4.
57 Namibia4.
57 Saudi Arabia4. 
60 Malaysia4.
61 Cuba4. 
61 Latvia4.
61 Turkey4.
64 Georgia4.
64 South Africa4.
66 Croatia4.
66 Montenegro4.     
66 Slovakia4.
69 Ghana3.
69 Italy3.  
69 Macedonia3. 
69 Samoa3.     
73 Brazil3.
73 Tunisia3.
75 China3.
75 Romania3.
77 Gambia3. 
77 Lesotho3.   
77 Vanuatu3.     
80 Colombia3.
80 El Salvador3.
80 Greece3.
80 Morocco3.
80 Peru3.
80 Thailand3.
 Grenada   3.43.5     
86 Bulgaria3.
86 Jamaica3.
86 Panama3.
86 Serbia[27]  
86 Sri Lanka3.
91 Bosnia and Herzegovina3.  
91 Liberia3. 2.2   
91 Trinidad and Tobago3.
91 Zambia3.
95 Albania3.
95 India3.
95 Kiribati3.    
95 Swaziland3.   
95 Tonga3.     
100 Argentina3.
100 Benin3.  
100 Burkina Faso3.   
100 Djibouti3.      
100 Gabon3.  
100 Indonesia3.
100 Madagascar3. 
100 Malawi3.
100 Mexico3.
100 São Tomé and Príncipe3.     
100 Suriname3.0         
100 Tanzania3. 
112 Algeria2. 
112 Egypt2.
112 Kosovo2.92.8        
112 Moldova2.
112 Senegal2.
112 Vietnam2. 
118 Bolivia2.
118 Mali2.  
120 Bangladesh2. 
120 Ecuador2. 
120 Ethiopia2. 
120 Guatemala2.
120 Iran2.  
120 Kazakhstan2.
120 Mongolia2.   
120 Mozambique2.  
120 Solomon Islands2.     
129 Armenia2.  
129 Dominican Republic2.
129 Honduras2. 
129 Philippines2. 
129 Syria2.  
134 Cameroon2. 
134 Eritrea2.   
134 Guyana2.    
134 Lebanon2.  
134 Maldives2.      
134 Nicaragua2. 
134 Niger2.   
134 Pakistan2. 
134 Sierra Leone2.  
143 Azerbaijan2. 
143 Belarus2. 
143 Comoros2.      
143 Mauritania2.     
143 Nigeria2. 
143 Russia2. 
143 Timor-Leste2.     
143 Togo2.     
143 Uganda2. 
152 Tajikistan2.  
152 Ukraine2. 
154 Central African Republic2.     
154 Republic of the Congo2.  
154 Ivory Coast2. 
154 Guinea-Bissau2.      
154 Kenya2. 
154 Laos2.    
154 Nepal2.   
154 Papua New Guinea2.  
154 Paraguay2. 
154 Zimbabwe2. 
164 Cambodia2. 
164 Guinea2.     
164 Kyrgyzstan2.  
164 Yemen2. 
168 Angola2. 
168 Chad2.   
168 Democratic Republic of the Congo2.   
168 Libya2.  
172 Burundi1.    
172 Equatorial Guinea1.    
172 Venezuela1. 
175 Haiti1. 
175 Iraq1.  
177 Sudan1.  
177 Turkmenistan1.   
177 Uzbekistan1. 
180 Afghanistan1. 2.5    
180 Myanmar1.  
182 North Korea1.0         
182 Somalia1. 2.1    


  1. ^ Transparency International (2011). "Corruption Perceptions Index". Transparency International. Transparency International. Retrieved 1 December 2011.
  2. ^ a b CPI 2010: Long methodological brief, p. 2
  3. ^ Transparency International (2010). "Corruption Perceptions Index 2010: In detail". Transparency International. Transparency International. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
  4. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions: TI Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI 2005)". Retrieved 2005-11-22.
  5. ^ CPI 2010: Long methodological brief, p. 1
  6. ^ Transparency International (2010). Corruption Perceptions Index 2010: Sources of information (Report). Transparency International. Retrieved 24 Aug 2011.
  7. ^ CPI 2010: Long methodological brief, p. 7
  8. ^ a b Transparency International (2010). "Frequently asked questions (FAQs)". Corruption Perceptions Index 2010. Transparency International. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
  9. ^ Wilhelm, Paul G. (2002). "International Validation of the Corruption Perceptions Index: Implications for Business Ethics and Entrepreneurship Education". Journal of Business Ethics (Springer Netherlands) 35 (3): 177–89. doi:10.1023/A:1013882225402.
  10. ^ Galtung, Fredrik (2006). "Measuring the Immeasurable: Boundaries and Functions of (Macro) Corruption Indices," in Measuring Corruption, Charles Sampford, Arthur Shacklock, Carmel Connors, and Fredrik Galtung, Eds. (Ashgate): 101-130. The author, a former Transparency International researcher and pioneer in the development of the Bribe Payers Index (BPI), addresses several criticisms of the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI). He argues that the CPI should be radically revised and complemented by additional indicators.
  11. ^ Sik, Endre (2002). "The Bad, the Worse and the Worst: Guesstimating the Level of Corruption," in Political Corruption in Transition: A Skeptic's Handbook, Stephen Kotkin and Andras Sajo, Eds. (Budapest: Central European University Press): 91-113.
  12. ^ "The Uses and Abuses of Governance Indicators". OECD.,2340,en_2649_33935_37081881_1_1_1_1,00.html.
  13. ^ a b "Bangladesh's economists question corruption perception index". The HINDU News Update Service. 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-09-28.
  14. ^ "Hey Experts: Stop Abusing the CPI". Global Integrity.
  15. ^ "TI's Index: Local Chapter Not Having It". Global Integrity.
  16. ^ "CPI: Methodology FAQ". Transparency International.
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^ "CPI 2011 table". Transparency Internation. Retrieved 2011-12-05.
  20. ^ "CPI 2010 table". Transparency International. Retrieved 2010-10-26.
  21. ^ "CPI 2009 table". Transparency International. Retrieved 2009-11-18.
  22. ^ "CPI 2008 table". Transparency International. Retrieved 2008-12-17.
  23. ^ "CPI 2007 table". Transparency International. Retrieved 2007-10-01.
  24. ^ "CPI 2006 table". Transparency International. Retrieved 2006-11-17.
  25. ^ "CPI 2005 table". Transparency International. Retrieved 2007-12-03.
  26. ^ "CPI 2004 table". Transparency International. Retrieved 2007-12-03.
  27. ^ The years 2002–2005 show data for Serbia and Montenegro

External links