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Is bad economy good for corruption?

TEXT OF STORY

Bill Radke: This morning, the advocacy group Transparency International releases its annual Corruption Perceptions Index. That's a survey of business people from all over the world. And as Christopher Werth reports, it suggests the global recession is making countries more crooked.


Christopher Werth: Countries are ranked on a scale of 1 to 10, zero being the most corrupt. At the bottom is Somalia. New Zealand, on the other the hand, has the top spot. Of the 180 countries on the survey, the United States ranks number 19. It received a score of 7.5.

But Robin Hodess of Transparency International says what's most concerning is that 129 countries fall within the bottom half of the index. And she says the global economic crisis has created a climate that's more vulnerable to corruption.

Robin Hodess: The fiscal stimulus packages, the big investment in infrastructure. All of these raise red flags about how decisions are taken, what businesses are too big to fail, what banks are too big to fail, and government really needs to disclose how monies from the public purse are beings spent.

Hodess says that as G20 countries negotiate an overhaul of the global financial system, they also need to focus on things like bribery and financial secrecy. According to a World Bank report from 2004, bribery siphons off $1 trillion a year from the global economy.

In London, I'm Christopher Werth for Marketplace.

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