Transparency International has just released its 2009 Corruption Perceptions Index, the preeminent, annual study of governmental corruption levels around the world.
This time, they’ve added a nice little interactive map–not much too it, besides the fact that mousing over the country gives you the numeric value. But it does give you a great indication of what countries do well, relative to their neighbors and what countries are basically sinkholes of graft and fraud. For example, Uruguay and Botswana do far better than the countries around them–no wonder that Botswana in particular is a prime example of economic development that works.
The CPI is a survey of surveys, which combines indexes found in 13 feeder studies with the expertise of academics who follow these issues. (Experts are polled on questions like how well a country’s courts work, and the effectiveness of its watch dog agencies.)
If you’re new to the study, the most surprising thing will be how poorly the U.S. does, relative to its first world peers. We’re basically just a shade above some pretty dicey governments. The reasons are complex, but you can point to the influence of lobbying on our lawmaking and the ongoing controversy over how we’ve prosecuted the war on terror, among other things.