GCB2013 Released

Here it is. Or just skip the graphics and download the data in Excel here.

I can’t say I care much about most of it. Of course most people everything think corruption is “increasing,” because they are a grumpy lot.

What does matter is the number of people who report paying a bribe in the past 12 months. It is as close to objective measurement as you can get in a sphere of life as indefinite and necessarily opaque as “corruption.”

Below is a quick table summarizing the results from the most notable countries (no comment where it’s pretty much “as expected”).

Paid bribe in last year? My comments
Afghanistan 46
Argentina 13
Australia 1 Acquaintance: AUS bureaucracy incompetent, but not dishonest
Brazil n/a Was 4% in last survey
Canada 3
China n/a :( Last survey was 9%, haven’t been included in this year’s GCB at all.
Czech Republic 15
Egypt 36
Estonia 6 One of two “clean” post-Soviet republics
France n/a
Georgia 4 One of two “clean” post-Soviet republics
Greece 22 By far the worst old-EU country; up from 18% in last survey.
Germany n/a
Hungary 12
India 54 “India shining” worse than many African countries. Exactly same as in last survey.
Israel 12
Italy 5 Down from 13% in last survey.
Japan 1 Down from 9% in last survey. This figure much more believable, I daresay.
Kazakhstan 34
Korea (South) 3
Latvia 19 Contrary to propaganda, of the Baltics only Estonia is truly clean
Lithuania 26
Mexico 33
Nigeria 44
Pakistan 34 Cleaner than India! :| Down from 49% in last survey.
Romania 17
Russia n/a Aw shucks… no data. ” (was 26% in last survey)
Sierra Leone 84 The record-holders this year (IIRC Cambodia topped last survey)
South Africa 47 WTF? Thought RSA, though kinda Third World, had a First World administrative structure.
Spain 2
Taiwan 36 WTF!?! Is this a statistical fluke??
Thailand 18
Turkey 21 Down from 33% last survey.
Ukraine 37 Virtually same as in last survey, when it was 34%.
United Kingdom 5 Strange… was 1% in last survey.
United States 7 Was 5% in last survey… and 2-3% in older surveys. Oh-oh…
Venezuela 27 Quite typical for middle-income country, contrary to anti-Bolivarian propaganda.

Summary:

So what’s up with South Africa? It’s corruption increased by an order of magnitude relative to the last GCB. And Taiwan?!? It’s GDP in purchasing power terms has recently soared past Japan’s, but it’s corruption levels are Third World… assuming this isn’t a bizarre statistical fluke.

A pity that there is no data for Russia and a few other key countries (Brazil, China, Germany, France). This will make the update to the Corruption Realities Index incomplete, and will leave a gap in my data series for bribery incidence in Russia. I have written to Transparency to inquire as to whether data for these countries will be forthcoming at some later date.

Comments

  1. Dear Anatoly,

    Based on purely anecdotal information I know I would say that the figure for Taiwan is definitely wrong and several orders of magnitude too high. Clearly there has been a bad sampling error. I have never been to Taiwan but I know people from there and people who have done business there and it is not a corrupt place.

    Most people with knowledge of the two countries would agree that India IS more corrupt than Pakistan though the level of corruption in India varies a lot from place to place. Having said that the figures for both look plausible. I am afraid I would definitely say the figure for South Africa is plausible too. South African does have some of the features of a developed country but crime and corruption by all accounts have been growing at an alarming pace there and is moving away from European and towards African levels. By contrast the figure given last year for Brazil was certainly too low as Brazilians I know (I was seeing one just the other day) have told me. Again I suspect a bad sampling error.

    As for the EU states, I would say the figure for Greece is roughly correct but based on my own experience I would definitely say that Romania is more corrupt than Greece and I am sure the incidence of bribe taking is more widespread there.

    As for Russia, could it be that the reason no figures have been given for Russia is because they would confirm a recent trend discernible from earlier surveys for levels of bribe taking there to fall perhaps to the level of or even below some EU states such as the Baltic States or Greece? As you know it has been consistent view that bribe paying in Russia is heavily concentrated in three areas: healthcare and education and the police. There have been major efforts to clean up the situation with bribes in the healthcare system whilst the police have been through a substantial reform and have a new professional leadership. It might be that these policies are starting to have some effect.

    The same may also be true of China by the way.

    Of course if my guess (and it is only a guess) is true then that may not be a message TI might want to publicise especially in a survey which appears to show that levels of bribe paying in the US and UK rising, which however I don’t believe either (again I suspect sampling errors in earlier surveys – the present figure for the UK looks roughly right to me).

    • Sorry for your comment getting spammed Alexander, it’s been fixed. I’ve no idea why the anti-spam took a disliking to you… :|

      Clearly there has been a bad sampling error.

      Sounds very likely. Certainly for 36% of Taiwanese having paid a bribe in the past year (that’s 4x the figure for mainland China, which was 9% in the last survey!) would appear to be astronomically improbable.

      As for Russia, could it be that the reason no figures have been given for Russia is because they would confirm a recent trend discernible from earlier surveys for levels of bribe taking there to fall perhaps to the level of or even below some EU states such as the Baltic States or Greece?

      Before rushing to conclusions I would also caution that they didn’t release these figures for France, Germany, Brazil, and several other minor countries. There could well be entirely more benign reasons: For instance, maybe they just haven’t processed the figures yet, or maybe the pollsters simply cocked up and forgot to ask those questions in certain countries.

      I would also add that Russia was already, according to this survey, ahead of Lithuania in the last survey. However, Lithuania has improved significantly this year.

      The same may also be true of China by the way.

      Maybe. Although they had a pretty good score last survey anyway (9% said they paid bribes). Which is perhaps somewhat better than expected as a lot of Chinese complain about corruption.

      …which however I don’t believe either (again I suspect sampling errors in earlier surveys – the present figure for the UK looks roughly right to me).

      You think 5% is “roughly right” for the UK? I thought it was shockingly high. My dad was surprised it was 1% and not 0% as during the last survey.

      Myself, I would have thought (if asked to guess) the figure for the UK would be about 1-2%, and marginally higher for the US. I struggle to remember any mention or talk whatsoever of having to bribes from acquaintances in both UK and US though of course it’s quite possible that I’m just not moving in the right (wrong?) circles.

  2. Sorry but the many discrepancies (whether to common sense or to previous results) only serve to emphasize the worthlessness of this survey. Absolutely no conclusions can be drawn from it, except what was already bleeding obvious to everyone: e.g. that Canada is less corrupt than India.

  3. This measures small time corruption. But it is the bigtime corruption that is the real problem.

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