A look at the Corruption Perceptions Index 2012

Corruption can happen anywhere. When politicians put their own interests above those of the public. When officials demand money and favours from citizens for services that should be free. Corruption is not just an envelope filled with money, though – these people make decisions that affect our lives.

CPI 2012 map banner

We know corruption is a problem around the world. But how bad is it and what can be done? The Corruption Perceptions Index measures the perceived levels of public sector corruption in countries worldwide.

Based on expert opinion, countries are scored from 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). Some countries score well, but no country scores a perfect 100.

Two-thirds of the 176 countries ranked in the 2012 index score below 50, showing that public institutions need to be more transparent, and powerful officials more accountable.

We must ensure that there are real consequences to corruption. ‘No to impunity’ cannot just be a slogan – it must be carried out with all our combined strength and inspire citizens to speak up and to no longer tolerate corruption.”
– Huguette Labelle, Chair, Transparency International

The Corruption Perceptions Index forces governments around the world to take notice of corruption – their country’s score reflects on them. But recognising the problem is only the first step towards a solution. That is why we help citizens to demand accountability from their leaders. And we show governments what they can do to tackle corruption. Together, we can make corruption a thing of the past.

From a culture of transparency to a deficit of rights and security

In the Corruption Perceptions Index 2012 Denmark, Finland and New Zealand tie for first place with scores of 90, helped by strong access to information systems and rules governing the behaviour of those in public positions. Read more about these countries here.

Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia once again cling to the bottom rung of the index. In these countries the lack of accountable leadership and effective public institutions underscore the need to take a much stronger stance against corruption. Read about how finishing bottom plays out in daily life in this blog post on Afghanistan.

Financial crisis and failing revolutions

Underperformers in the Corruption Perceptions Index 2012 also include the Eurozone countries most affected by the financial and economic crisis. In a June 2012 report on corruption in Europe, Transparency International warned Europe that the crisis should be a wake-up call on the need to address corruption risks in the public sector to tackle the financial crisis. Read more on the challenges faced by the lowest-ranking EU countries Greece, Bulgaria and Italy.

Genuine transparent political reforms after democratic elections have not taken hold in Arab Spring countries, as they continue to languish towards the end of the scale even after the onset of the revolutions – especially Egypt, which significantly dipped in its ranking.

A warning for businesses

While the Corruption Perceptions Index measures how corrupt experts think public sectors are, businesses need to take careful note of the results. Doing business in a country where corruption is rife means higher costs, delays and losing business to competitors who pay bribes. All but one of the world’s fastest growing economies score less than 40 out of 100.

To keep the global economy corruption-free, strong enforcement of global standards like the G20 anti-corruption action plan and rules criminalising foreign bribery will be vital. Multinational companies, meanwhile, must be transparent about their operations. Of the world’s 105 biggest companies, 85 do not disclose income tax payments in any foreign country of operation on their corporate website, according to a Transparency International report from July 2012.

Further reading

BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-20605869

Al Jazeera: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2012/12/2012125884268449.html

Financial Times: http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/fd67f3f4-3e30-11e2-91cb-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2E9htzEDj

Bloomberg: http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-12-05/euro-crisis-feeds-corruption-as-greece-slides-in-rankings

CNBC: http://www.cnbc.com/id/100277670

Reuters: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/05/us-corruption-transparency-egypt-idUSBRE8B406Q20121205

Reuters: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/05/us-corruption-transparency-global-idUSBRE8B406G20121205

AFP: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gZYFWn7hzPf4nXSrlQjXfK60UJdw?docId=CNG.d917c167f7fe74f6218d1d2600dd085a.2c1

Guardian Data Blog: http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2012/dec/05/corruption-index-2012-transparency-international#

Radio Free Europe/Radio Free Asia: http://www.rferl.org/content/transparency-corruption-index/24789674.html

Voice of America: http://www.voanews.com/content/report-corruption-remains-widespread-global-problem/1558610.html


The index is drawn from 13 surveys carried out by independent institutions such as the World Bank and Bertelsmann Foundation. Read more about how the index is prepared here.

For any press enquiries please contact press@transparency.org


Support Transparency International

#18IACC: Call for workshop proposals now open!

The 18th edition of the International Anti-Corruption Conference to take place in Copenhagen from 22-24 October 2018 is thrilled to announce that the call for workshop proposals is now open. Help us shape the #18IACC agenda! Anyone interested in the fight against corruption is welcome to submit a proposal.

The impact of land corruption on women: insights from Africa

As part of International Women’s Day, Transparency International is launching the Women, Land and Corruption resource book. This is a collection of unique articles and research findings that describe and analyse the prevalence of land corruption in Africa – and its disproportionate effect on women – presented together with innovative responses from organisations across the continent.

Passport dealers of Europe: navigating the Golden Visa market

Coast or mountains? Real estate or business investment? Want your money back in five years? If you're rich, there are an array of options for European ‘Golden Visas’ at your fingertips, each granting EU residence or citizenship rights.

How the G20 can make state-owned enterprises champions of integrity

For the first time in its presidency of the G20, Argentina is hosting country representatives from across the globe to address the best ways of curtailing corruption and promoting integrity in state-owned enterprises (SOEs).

Europe and Central Asia: More civil engagement needed (Part II)

As follow-up to the regional analysis of Eastern Europe and Central Asia, additional examples from Albania, Kosovo and Georgia highlight the need for more progress in anti-corruption efforts in these countries and across the region.

Lutte contre la corruption en Afrique: Du bon et du moins bon

La publication de la dernière édition de l’Indice de perception de la corruption (IPC) offre un bon point de repère pour situer les efforts de lutte contre la corruption que l’Union africaine (UA) poursuivra tout au long de 2018

No hay cambios en las percepciones pese a los avances en América

En los últimos años, América Latina y el Caribe lograron adelantos significativos en la lucha contra la corrupción. En muchos países de la región existen ahora leyes y mecanismos para contrarrestar este fenómeno, las investigaciones legales están avanzando y los movimientos ciudadanos anticorrupción han incrementado. Sin embargo, de acuerdo con el Índice de Percepción de la Corrupción (IPC) 2017, la región continúa con bajos puntajes.

A redefining moment for Africa

The newly released Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) provides a good baseline for the African Union (AU) anti-corruption efforts in 2018. This year’s theme for the AU is “Winning the Fight against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation.” As the AU rolls out its plan, this is an important moment for Africa to take stock of the current situation.

Social Media

Follow us on Social Media

Would you like to know more?

Sign up to stay informed about corruption news and our work around the world