Corruption Perception Index

The Corruption Perception Index (CPI) is an annual ranking by Transparency International that measures perceived levels of public sector corruption in countries and territories around the world.
Updated: Jun 6, 2024

3 Key Takeaways

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  • The CPI scores countries on a scale from 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).
  • It is based on expert assessments and opinion surveys, not on actual measurements of corruption.
  • The CPI is a widely used tool for assessing and comparing corruption levels globally.

What is the Corruption Perception Index?

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The CPI is an index published annually by Transparency International, a global non-governmental organization that focuses on combating corruption. The index ranks countries and territories based on how corrupt their public sector is perceived to be. It is a composite index, drawing on data from various sources, including surveys of businesspeople, academics, and risk analysts.

Importance of the Corruption Perception Index

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  • Benchmarking: The CPI provides a benchmark for comparing corruption levels across countries and regions, allowing for the identification of areas that need improvement.
  • Policymaking: Governments and international organizations use the CPI to inform policy decisions and allocate resources for anti-corruption efforts.
  • Investment Decisions: Investors and businesses use the CPI to assess the risk of corruption in different countries, which can influence their investment decisions.
  • Public Awareness: The CPI raises public awareness about corruption and its detrimental effects on society, encouraging greater accountability and transparency.

How the Corruption Perception Index Works

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The CPI is calculated using a methodology that combines data from multiple sources, including:

  • Expert Assessments: Surveys and assessments conducted by international organizations, think tanks, and risk analysis firms.
  • Opinion Surveys: Surveys of businesspeople and residents in the countries being assessed.

The data is then aggregated and standardized to create a score for each country on a scale from 0 to 100, with 0 indicating a highly corrupt public sector and 100 indicating a very clean public sector.

Examples of CPI Scores

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  • Denmark: Consistently ranks among the top countries with very low perceived corruption.
  • Somalia: Often ranks at the bottom of the index, indicating a high level of perceived corruption.
  • United States: Typically scores in the upper range of the index, but has experienced some decline in recent years.

Real-World Applications

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The CPI is a widely used tool for assessing and comparing corruption levels globally. It is used by governments, international organizations, businesses, and civil society groups to monitor progress in the fight against corruption. The index has also been used to study the relationship between corruption and various economic and social outcomes, such as economic growth, inequality, and human development.

However, the CPI has also faced criticism for its reliance on perceptions rather than objective measurements of corruption. Despite its limitations, the CPI remains a valuable tool for understanding and addressing the global challenge of corruption.

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