Iceland’s levels of corruption continue their upswing, according to the latest data from Transparency International (TI), and the hard data points mostly to distrust of Iceland’s economic institutions.
Transparency International has released their 2011 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) report. By their standards, the least corrupt country in the world is New Zealand, followed by Denmark, Finland and Sweden. While the Scandinavian countries traditionally do rank at the top of the list when it comes to low corruption, Iceland bears the distinction of having descended to the 13th position for the first time.
While this in itself is not terrible news – Iceland still comes ahead of Germany, Japan and the US – it does mark a part of a general decline. In 2005, Iceland topped the list. By 2007, it had fallen to sixth place.
According to TI, their methodology “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.”
Iceland’s final score – 8.3 – is therefore an average score, culled from separate scores from separate assessments. When reviewing the hard data, Iceland actually scored pretty well when it came to political assessments. Iceland’s highest scoring assessments – 9.5 and 9.2 respectively – were from the Political Risk Services International Country Risk Guide and the Bertelsmann Foundation Sustainable Governance Indicators. At the same time, Iceland’s lowest score – 7.1 – came from the Economic Intelligence Unit Country Risk Assessment.
Bearing this in mind, TI seems to be indicating that while Iceland’s political institutions rank among the least corrupt in the world, its economic institutions could stand to improve.