Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 04/2012

Corruption Perceptions Index 2011

January 2012

Transparency International


The Corruption Perceptions Index ranks countries according to their perceived levels of public-sector corruption. The 2011 index draws on different assessments and business opinion surveys carried out by independent and reputable institutions. The surveys and assessments used to compile the index include questions relating to the bribery of public officials, kickbacks in public procurement, embezzlement of public funds, and questions that probe the strength and effectiveness of public-sector anti-corruption efforts. Perceptions are used because corruption – whether frequency or amount – is to a great extent a hidden activity that is difficult to measure. Over time, perceptions have proved to be a reliable estimate of corruption. Measuring scandals, investigations or prosecutions, while offering ‘non-perception’ data, reflect less on the prevalence of corruption in a country and more on other factors, such as freedom of the press or the efficiency of the judicial system. The Corruption Perceptions Index complements Transparency International’s many other tools that measure corruption and integrity in the public and private sectors at global, national and local levels.