The 10 Most (and 10 Least) Corrupt Countries in the World

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Today, Berlin-based Transparency International released its annual list of the most and least corrupt countries in the world -- the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI). On a scale ranked from 0 to 10 (0 being the most corrupt, 10 being the least), the United States received a historically low score of 7.1. A year ago, it scored 7.5.


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But the U.S. is in good company.
 
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The Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Madagascar and Niger also received lower scores than they did last year. Transparency International explains the declining scores of some nations -- such as the United States -- with the recent global financial crisis. For many countries, it says, the crisis was "precipitated by transparency and integrity deficits."

The CPI uses 13 different expert and business surveys, like the African Development Bank, Global Insight and IMD, to compute its numbers. Of the 178 countries surveyed, nearly three quarters scored lower than 5. The most corrupt countries were also the poorest, and are mostly ruled either by dictators or by unstable governments.

The report did contain some good news: Bhutan, Chile, Ecuador, Macedonia, Gambia, Haiti, Jamaica, Kuwait and Qatar all improved their scores.
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Douglas A. McIntyre

Douglas McIntyre is editor of 24/7 Wall St.

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