Ordinary citizens too often stand on the front line against corruption. They face demands for bribes to see a doctor, find a school place for their children, or file a police complaint. And it is always those who are least able to pay a bribe who suffer most.
It’s no wonder that measuring corruption is at the heart of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Transparency International also believes it is necessary to have good quality data. That is why it is important to ask real people how they face corruption in their daily lives.
The latest findings from Transparency International’s Global Corruption Barometer series – the world's largest survey asking citizens about their direct personal experience of corruption in their daily lives – shows what people experience and just how far countries have to go to fight corruption.
Bribery rates around the world
Nearly one in four people paid a bribe when they accessed a public service in the 12 months prior to when the question was asked:
So it is not so surprising that the majority of people around the world do not think governments are doing well fighting corruption.
Ordinary people can make a difference
The good news is more than half the people around the world – and particularly young people – agreed that citizens could make a difference.
Fifty-eight per cent of people aged 24 and under said they feel empowered to make a difference. Fifty per cent of those aged 55 also agreed.
Police and elected officials named most corrupt
We asked people to identify which institutions they felt were most corrupt. The police and elected officials came tied top overall with 36 per cent of people responding they were highly corrupt, more than for any other group or institution we asked about.
There were some regional differences:
- In Asia Pacific (39 per cent) and Sub Saharan Africa (47 per cent) police were seen as the most corrupt
- In Europe and Central Asia (31 per cent) elected representatives were seen as the most corrupt
- In the Americas both the police and elected representatives fared worst (46 per cent)
- In the Middle East and North Africa elected representatives, tax officials and government officials were thought to be highly corrupt by 45 per cent of the population, a higher percentage than for any other institution
The results cover 119 countries, territories and regions around the globe. It is based on interviews with 162,136 adults from March 2014 until January 2017.
For Transparency International’s recommendations on combatting corruption in public services, from governance to public procurement, go here.
Regional reports in the Global Corruption Barometer Series
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