Corruption and National Well-Being (Lists)

No great surprises in the rankings of the 10 most corrupt and 10 least corrupt countries. The squeaky-clean places are all pretty rich (as measured by GDP per capita) and sustain a high standard of living across the board (as measured by the UN’s Human Development Index). No shocks at the other end, either, with the usual suspects like Guinea-Bissau, Yemen and South Sudan vying for the awfulness crown.

But one aspect of the comparisons does seem a little out of kilter. While the northern European countries high on the list are all fairly egalitarian (as measured by the Gini index of inequality), elsewhere there are some interesting outliers. Singapore and the United States tolerate/encourage degrees of inequality usually associated with sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. Meanwhile, ultra-corrupt, ultra-poor Afghanistan spreads around what it does have about as equally as Norway or Finland. Maybe the tourist board in Kabul can put it on a poster.

Peter Passell